Background: The literature dealing with abdominal wall surgery is often flawed due to lack of adherence to accepted reporting standards and statistical methodology. Materials and methods: The EuraHS Working Group (European Registry of Abdominal Wall Hernias) organised a consensus meeting of surgical experts and researchers with an interest in abdominal wall surgery, including a statistician, the editors of the journal Hernia and scientists experienced in meta-analysis. Detailed discussions took place to identify the basic ground rules necessary to improve the quality of research reports related to abdominal wall reconstruction. Results: A list of recommendations was formulated including more general issues on the scientific methodology and statistical approach. Standards and statements are available, each depending on the type of study that is being reported: the CONSORT statement for the Randomised Controlled Trials, the TREND statement for non randomised interventional studies, the STROBE statement for observational studies, the STARLITE statement for literature searches, the MOOSE statement for metaanalyses of observational studies and the PRISMA statement for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. A number of recommendations were made, including the use of previously published standard definitions and classifications relating to hernia variables and treatment; the use of the validated Clavien-Dindo classification to report complications in hernia surgery; the use of "time-to-event analysis" to report data on "freedom-of-recurrence" rather than the use of recurrence rates, because it is more sensitive and accounts for the patients that are lost to follow-up compared with other reporting methods. Conclusion: A set of recommendations for reporting outcome results of abdominal wall surgery was formulated as guidance for researchers. It is anticipated that the use of these recommendations will increase the quality and meaning of abdominal wall surgery research.
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