Highly cited works in neurosurgery. Part II: the citation classics

J Neurosurg 112:233–246, 2010. (DOI: 10.3171/2009.12.JNS091600)

Object. The term “citation classic” has been used in reference to an article that has been cited more than 400 times. The purpose of this study is to identify such articles that pertain to clinical neurosurgery.

Methods. A list of search phrases relating to neurosurgery was compiled. A topic search was performed using the Institute for Scientific Information Web of Science for phrases. Articles with more than 400 citations were identified, and nonclinical articles were omitted. The journals, year of publication, topics, and study types were analyzed.

Results. There were 106 articles with more than 400 citations relating to clinical neurosurgery. These articles appeared in 28 different journals, with more than half appearing in the Journal of Neurosurgery or the New England Journal of Medicine. Fifty-three articles were published since 1990. There were 38 articles on cerebrovascular disease, 21 on stereotactic and functional neurosurgery, 21 on neurooncology, 19 on trauma, 4 on nontraumatic spine, 2 on CSF pathologies, and 1 on infection. There were 29 randomized trials, of which 86% appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, or the Journal of the American Medical Association, and half concerned the prevention or treatment of stroke. In addition, there were 16 prospective studies, 15 classification or grading systems, and 7 reviews. The remaining 39 articles were case series, case reports, or technical notes.

Conclusions. More than half of the citation classics identified in this study have been published in the past 20 years. Case series, classifications, and reviews appeared more frequently in neurosurgical journals, while randomized controlled trials tended to be published in general medical journals.