Outcome measures in facial prosthesis research: A systematic review

Rachael Jablonski, Benjamin Veale, Trevor Coward, Andrew Keeling, Chris Bojke, Brian Natress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statement of problem. Facial prosthesis research uses a wide variety of outcome measures, which results in challenges when comparing the effectiveness of interventions among studies. Consensus is lacking regarding the most appropriate and meaningful outcome measures to use in facial prosthesis research to capture important perspectives.
Purpose. The purpose of the systematic review was to identify and synthesize outcome measures used in facial prosthesis research.
Material and methods. Electronic searches were performed in 11 databases (including nonpeer-reviewed literature). The citations were searched, and expert societies were contacted to identify additional studies. Inclusion criteria comprised studies of participants with facial defects who required or had received prosthetic rehabilitation with an external facial prosthesis. Exclusion criteria comprised participants with ocular prostheses, case reports, case series with fewer than 5 participants, laboratory-based studies, and studies published before 1980. Study selection was performed independently by 2 reviewers. Discrepancies were resolved through discussion or by a third reviewer. Outcome measures were synthesized with a categorization approach based upon the perspective, theme, and subtheme of the outcome measures. Quality assessment was performed with an appraisal tool that enabled evaluation of studies with diverse designs.
Results. Database searching identified 13 058 records and 7406 remained after duplications were removed. After initial screening, 189 potentially relevant records remained, and 186 full texts were located (98% retrieval rate). After full text screening, 124 records were excluded. Citation searches and contact with expert societies identified 4 further records. In total, 69 articles (grouped into 65 studies) were included. Studies were categorized according to the perspective of their outcome measures, with the following findings: patient-reported (74% of studies), clinical indicators (34%), clinician-reported (8%), multiple viewpoints (6%), and independent observer-reported (3%). Patient-reported outcome measures included tools to assess satisfaction, quality of life, and psychological health. Variability in the choice of outcome measures was evident among the studies, with many self-designed, unvalidated, condition-specific questionnaires reported. A greater number of outcome measure themes emerged over time; themes such as service delivery and health state utility have recently been evaluated.
Conclusions. Over the past 40 years, facial prosthesis research has focused on patient-reported outcome measures. Outcome measures relating to other perspectives have been used less frequently, although new themes appear to be emerging in the literature. Future research should use outcome measures with appropriate measurement properties for use with facial prosthetics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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