J Korean Med Sci.  2021 Mar;36(12):e25. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e25.

Characteristics and Distribution of Surgical Diseases in North Korean Research Papers Published between 2006 and 2017

  • 1Graduate School of Public Health, Ajou University, Suwon, Korea
  • 2Ajou Institute of Korean Unification and Health Care, Suwon, Korea
  • 3Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 5Department of Academic Affairs, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Association of Healthcare for Korean Unification, Seoul, Korea


Little is known about the surgical discipline in North Korea from the perspective of the outside world. This study aimed to examine the disease entities covered by articles published in the major medical journal in North Korea, “Surgery.”
Content and frequency analyses of 2,132 articles published in “Surgery” from 2006 to 2017 were conducted. Two medical doctors who majored in Surgery and anesthesiology perused the articles and compiled the diseases being elucidated in each article. The diseases described in each article were stratified into 13 surgical subspecialties.
Articles from “Surgery,” similar to articles from the Western surgical community, also covered a wide variety of surgical diseases from different subspecialties, and the number of publications continued to grow consistently. Moreover, a number of studies focused on the fields of orthopedics and general Surgery dealing with benign diseases. Some articles focused on minimally invasive surgeries using laparoscopy.
The studies published in the North Korean journal “Surgery” encompass various clinical areas, but their quality is unclear.


North Korea; Surgery; Medical Research
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