Instructions for Authors

All manuscripts are considered for publication on the understanding that they have been submitted solely to this Journal and that they have not previously been published. Both paper and electronic submissions are allowed.

Electronic submissions should be sent to the Editors via the website at Manuscripts submitted through our online system should not also be submitted by mail.

Authors should note that the editors may choose to publish accepted material in both paper and electronic formats or in electronic format only. Paper submissions may also be shortened, at the Editor's discretion, with the full text version available in electronic format only

The following will be considered:

  • Main Articles: These should report clinical research or audit and should not normally exceed 7500 words. Review Articles and Historical Articles will also be considered but should not exceed 3000 words unless specifically commissioned. Longer articles or theses will be considered for publication as Supplements but the authors will normally be expected to meet the costs of publication.

  • Clinical Records (Case Reports): These should be no more than 1500 words, with four authors as a maximum and should be confined either to single cases without precedent in the world literature or to cases that illustrate some entirely new facet in management or investigation. The search strategy used must be detailed. Relevant papers will also be published under the heading Radiology, Pathology or Oncology in Focus: such submissions must normally include the radiologist , pathologist or oncologist who has been involved as co-author.

  • How I do it: These should be articles illustrating surgical technique or the use of technical innovation. As with Clinical Records the manuscript should not exceed 1500 words and with a maximum of four authors. Articles should be clearly illustrated with line art from a laser printer. Cross-hatching is allowed: do not use grey-tints.

The following instructions should be observed or the manuscript may be returned:
  • Each manuscript should be divided into sections on separate pages. These should be: title page, structured abstract and key words, text, acknowledgements, references, summary and tables. All text must be double spaced and should be typed in a 12 point font.

  • Illustrations should be separately appended. Written permission from the publisher to reproduce any material with copyright elsewhere must be obtained prior to submission.

  • Title page: This should contain (a) a title; (b) the names of all authors together with their principal higher qualification(s) and details of their departments or affiliated institution(s); (c) the name and address of the author responsible for correspondence. If the paper was presented at a meeting, the details must be given. The numbers of authors must be commensurate with the complexity of the submitted material. A fax number and e-mail address must be provided and will be used for correspondence.

  • Abstract and key words: The abstract should be no longer than 150 words and should be structured. Key Words are used to index the article. Only the words appearing as Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in the supplement to Index Medicus may ordinarily be used. These are also available at

  • Text: Main articles should contain the following headings: Introduction, Materials and methods, Results and analysis (including statistical analysis) and Discussion.

  • Clinical Records and other submissions should normally comprise Introduction, Case report and a brief Discussion. In all cases the Discussion should clearly indicate how the reported work fits with the current body of world literature. The text should be grammar and spell checked prior to submission.

  • All measurements must normally be reported in metric units. Only approved drug names should be used.

  • Acknowledgements: These should include a list of any funding bodies. Where individuals are acknowledged this should be with their consent

  • References: The authors are responsible for verifying the accuracy of the references. The Vancouver system should be used. The references should be identified in the text by superscript Arabic numerals and be numbered and listed consecutively at the end of the manuscript in the order in which they are cited. References must include: names and initials of all authors (when more than six, give the first six followed by et al.); the title of the paper; the journal title abbreviated as in Index Medicus; year of publication; volume number; first and last page numbers. References to books should give the author(s)/editor(s), book title, place of publication, publisher and year. References to chapters in books should also include the chapter title, first and last page numbers, and the names and initials of chapter authors.

  • Summary: A summary sheet should also be provided containing a precis, in bullet point format, of what is already known on the subject and what this paper adds to our understanding; this will be published in a box within the body of the text.

  • Tables: These should be adjuncts to the text, should have a separate legend and should be numbered consecutively with Roman numerals.

  • Illustrations: Photographs should be unmounted black and white prints with the top edge identified with an arrow and with the first author's name clearly written on the back. Two sets should be supplied and each should be clearly identified with the figure number. Digital photographs should have been taken with at least a 1.2-megapixel camera at the highest possible resolution. Where the photograph is of a patient a signed release giving specific consent to publication must also be submitted. For minors signed parental permission is required.

  • Radiographs and scans should have a resolution of 300 dpi for single column or 600 dpi for double column reproduction. Photomicrographs of histopathological specimens must be accompanied by details of the staining method and the magnification used.

  • To ensure that your figures are reproduced to the highest possible standards we recommend the following formats and resolutions for supplying electronic figures.

  • Please ensure that your figures are saved as Tiffs and at final publication size in our recommended file formats. When you save as Tiffs you should get the option of Image Compression. If so please select the LZW option. This should substantially reduce the size of the file and make it easier to upload it. Following these guidelines will result in high quality images being reproduced in both the print and the online versions of the journal.

  • Line artwork Format: TIFF
    Colour mode: black and white (also known as 1-bit)
    Resolution: 800 dpi at final size

    Combination artwork (line/tone) Format: TIFF
    Colour mode: grayscale (also known as 8-bit)
    Resolution: 600 dpi at final size

    Black and white halftone artwork Format: TIFF
    Colour mode: grayscale (also known as 8-bit)
    Resolution: 300 dpi at final size

    Colour halftone artwork Format: TIFF
    Colour mode: CMYK colour
    Resolution: 300 dpi at final size

If you require any further guidance on creating suitable electronic figures, please visit Here you will find extensive guidelines on preparing electronic figures and also have access to an online preflighting tool ( where you can check if your figures are suitable for reproduction.

Electronic submission: Papers may be submitted electronically as files attached to an email or by using the online Article Submission form available on the website ( There is also a template that can be downloaded from the website that indicates how the ideal article should be laid out. All submitted material must be in a Microsoft Word compatible format or review will be impossible and the article will be returned. Tables, pictures and photographs for review may be added to electronically submitted articles but, as with paper submission, must not be embedded within the text. The total size of the file should not exceed 6MB. To facilitate uploading, illustrations should be sent for review in a low-resolution (72 dpi) format inserted into a Microsoft Word document. If the article is subsequently accepted, photographs and prints will normally be required to be sent by surface mail prior to publication, although high resolution files (TIFF format: minimum resolution 300 dpi) may also be considered.

Covering Letter: No manuscript will be published unless accompanied by a covering letter. This must normally accompany the paper at the time of submission. For electronic submissions a scanned copy of the letter, submitted as a separate file, will be allowed. All the authors must sign the letter to indicate that they have read and approved the paper. Such a letter should indicate the part they have played in data collection, analysis or in the writing of the paper. The principal investigator should also indicate that he/she is prepared to take responsibility for the integrity of the content of the manuscript and the letter should outline any potential or actual competing interests: where none have occurred this should also be clearly stated. Competing interests include affiliation with organisations described in the manuscript and include grant monies, honoraria, fees or gifts as well as indirect financial support where equipment or drugs have been supplied.

Proofs of accepted articles will be sent to authors and should be corrected and returned within 5 working days. No extra material should be added to the manuscript at this stage. Offprints may be ordered using the accompanying form. Rejected manuscripts will not be returned. The exception will be manuscripts containing coloured illustrations which will be returned, if requested, by Surface Mail.

Editorial Enquiries

Contact: Rosamund Greensted
Quickley Rise,
WD3 5PE,
+44(0)1923 283561