“You can stop a drug if it’s causing problems, but you can’t stop an operation. The problem with clinical trials in surgery is that it is a decisive, irreversible act. Surgeons aren’t natural clinical researchers, but all that is changing.”
An internationally renowned health innovator, Professor Iain Hutchison is one of the leading authorities on facial surgery research - he even has his own TED Talk on the subject. He founded Saving Faces - the UK's only charity devoted to the reduction of facial injuries and diseases - and now spends much of his time focused on clinical research around an issue previously neglected.
As a cancer surgeon he was sure his methods were the best, but couldn’t convince his colleagues despite the number of lives he was saving: “The only way to show which was the best treatment was through clinical research, and the gold standard is the prospective randomised study.”
We spoke to Professor Hutchison about the challenges of clinical trials in surgery and the results they have seen in a mouth cancer study. Listen to the fascinating interview below.