The PubMed database was searched (1946 to September 2020), the EMBASE data were also searched (January 1946 to September 2020), moreover, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials was searched (all years), and finally, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) was also included in the searching of electronic databases. The searching of publications did not include any language constraints. The titles and abstracts were scrutinized by a pair of authors to identify relevant studies. The efficacy of the association in the combination of acupuncture and physical therapy as a method of treatment for idiopathic facial paralysis was evaluated according to the pooled risk ratio (RR), mean differences (MD), or standardized mean difference (SMD) with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). A pair of authors conducted an autonomous risk assessment of the bias that would be introduced when the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool is used. A pair of authors autonomously extracted data with the aid of a customized data extraction form. The RevMan 5.3 statistical analysis software was utilized for conducting the statistical analysis.
The final results will be presented in a scientific journal that will be peer-reviewed.
It is expected that the proposed systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture combined with physical therapy for treating idiopathic facial paralysis will provide reliable evidence for clinical application.
DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/RPCSE (https://osf.io/rpcse/).