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Innovative surgery: the ethical challenges
  1. Jane Johnson,
  2. Wendy Rogers
  1. Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Wendy Rogers, Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University North Ryde NSW 2109, Australia;{at}


Innovative surgery raises four kinds of ethical challenges: potential harms to patients; compromised informed consent; unfair allocation of healthcare resources; and conflicts of interest. Lack of adequate data on innovations and lack of regulatory oversight contribute to these ethical challenges. In this paper these issues and the extent to which problems may be resolved by better evidence-gathering and more comprehensive regulation are explored. It is suggested that some ethical issues will be more resistant to resolution than others, owing to special features of both surgery and innovation.

  • Ethics of innovative surgery
  • informed consent
  • conflicts of interest
  • research ethics
  • surgical ethics
  • applied and professional ethics

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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