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Operating-room audiovisual recording is increasingly proposed, although its ethical implications need elucidation. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the published literature on ethical aspects regarding operating-room recording. Methods

MEDLINE (via PubMed), Embase, and Cochrane databases were systematically searched for articles describing ethical aspects regarding surgical (both intracorporeal and operating room) recording from database inception to the present (the last search was undertaken in July 2022). Medical subject headings used in the search included ‘operating room’, ‘surgery’, ‘video recording’, ‘black box’, ‘ethics’, ‘consent’, ‘confidentiality’, ‘privacy’, and more. Title, abstract, and full-text screening determined relevance. The quality of studies was assessed using Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine grading and no formal assessment of risk of bias was attempted given the theoretical nature of the data collected. Results

From 1048 citations, 22 publications met the inclusion criteria, with three more added from their references. There was evident geographical (21 were from North America/Europe) and recency (all published since 2010) bias and an exclusive patient/clinician perspective (25 of 25). The varied methodology (including ten descriptive reviews, seven opinion pieces, five surveys, two case reports, and one RCT) and evidence level (14 level V and 10 level III/IV) prevented meaningful systematic grading/meta-analysis. Publications were narratively analysed for ethical thematic content (mainly education, performance, privacy, consent, and ownership) that was then grouped by the four principles of biomedical ethics of Beauchamp and Childress, accounting for 63 distinct considerations concerning beneficence (22 of 63; 35 per cent), non-maleficence (17 of 63; 27 per cent), justice (14 of 63; 22 per cent), and autonomy (10 of 63; 16 per cent). From this, a set of proposed guidelines on the use of operative data is presented. Conclusion

For a surgical video to be a truly valuable resource, its potential benefits must be more fully weighed against its potential disadvantages, so that any derived instruments have a solid ethical foundation. Universal, ethical, best-practice guidelines are needed to protect clinicians, patients, and society.

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BJS Open

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Surgery Commons