Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, is a set of models and methods that can automatically detect patterns in vast amounts of data, extract information and use it to perform various kinds of decision-making under uncertain conditions. This can assist surgeons in clinical decision-making by identifying patient cohorts that will benefit from surgery prior to treatment. The aim of this review is to evaluate the applications of machine learning in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
A literature review will be undertaken of EMBASE, MEDLINE and CENTRAL (1990 up to September 2019) to identify studies relevant for the review. Studies in which machine learning has been employed in the clinical setting of plastic surgery will be included. Primary outcomes will be the evaluation of the accuracy of machine learning models in predicting a clinical diagnosis and post-surgical outcomes. Secondary outcomes will include a cost analysis of those models. This protocol has been prepared using the Preferred Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) guidelines.
This will be the first systematic review in available literature that summarises the published work on the applications of machine learning in plastic surgery. Our findings will provide the basis of future research in developing artificial intelligence interventions in the specialty.
PROSPERO CRD42019140924.