American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

ACS Case Reviews in Surgery Author Instructions

ACS Case Reviews in Surgery publishes case reports in various surgical specialties. All case reports must meet the following requirements:

  • Focus on a topic of interest to practicing surgeons
  • Describe experiences that may not be routinely seen or that were uniquely treated
  • Involve patients with common surgical problems (where the clinical presentation and/or challenges of management produced knowledge and insights that have educational value)

Only original, previously unpublished case report manuscripts should be submitted. All submissions will be reviewed with the understanding that the submitted work has not been published by and is not under publication consideration at any other journal, website, or any other content platforms. Additionally, all manuscripts will be peer-reviewed.

Authors are encouraged to review the author instructions in their entirety as well as a sample case report.

Submitted case reports should be approximately 1,000 words (four pages), including the case description. Please see Word Count under the Case Report Submission Checklist section for more details. All manuscript formatting requirements must be strictly followed; all designated manuscript sections must be included, including the provision of an abstract, case description, discussion, conclusion, and lessons learned statement.

Medical students and residents are encouraged to submit to ACS Case Reviews in Surgery; however, in order to do so, a practicing surgeon/attending surgeon must be included as one of the case report authors.

Please note: Upon receiving a written acceptance for publication notification via e-mail, the corresponding author will be required to pay a nonnegotiable $750 publication fee.

Manuscript Format

Title Page


The title page must be the first page of the manuscript; all pages should be numbered. The title of manuscript should include the report’s key concepts so that search engines will locate the manuscript. No abbreviations are allowed in titles, unless they are standard acronyms (for example, NSQIP).

Author Names and Affiliations

List the name(s) of all authors, including first name and middle initial, graduate degrees of authors, and FACS if author(s) are Fellows of the ACS. No more than 10 names will appear under the title. Where the family name may be ambiguous (for example, a double name), please clearly indicate this.

Present the authors' affiliation addresses (where the actual work was done) below the names. Indicate all affiliations with a lower-case superscript letter immediately after the author's name and in front of the appropriate affiliation.

Provide the full affiliation for each author, including department and institution, city, and state.

Additional contributors should be listed in an acknowledgments section on the title page (for example, people who provided purely technical help/writing assistance, department chairs who provided only general support, etc.)

Correspondence Address

Clearly indicate who will handle correspondence at all stages of review, revision, publication, and postpublication. Only one corresponding author is allowed. Ensure that a valid phone number (with country and area code) is provided in addition to the e-mail address and the complete postal address. Contact details must be kept up to date by the corresponding author.

Present/Permanent Address

If an author has moved since the work described in the article was done, or was visiting at the time, a “Present address” (or “Permanent address”) may be indicated as a footnote to that author's name. The address at which the author actually did the work must be retained as the main affiliation address.

Meeting Presentation

Include meeting presentation information: the name (spelled out) of the sponsoring organization, city and state, and month and year of the meeting.

Disclosure of Conflicts

All relevant conflicts of interest and sources of funding should be included on the title page of the manuscript with the heading "Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding.” See Conflict of Interest below for further details.


Structured abstracts are required. Abstract should contain about 300-500 words. Briefly summarize the article by stating the research focus, the research methods used, the results/findings, and any problems presented by the case, lessons learned, conclusion(s), and recommendations. Do not cite references in the abstract. The format for the abstract is:

  • Background
  • Summary
  • Conclusion
  • Key Words

Immediately after the conclusion, provide a maximum of six (6) keywords, using American spelling and avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, “and”, “of”). These keywords will be used for indexing and searching purposes.

Case Description


Abbreviations/acronyms should be in parentheses immediately after the words for which they stand, and must be spelled out completely at first use in the abstract and again at first use in the text. Abbreviations/acronyms used in figures must be spelled out in the figure legend. Up to 10 abbreviations of common terms (for example, DCIS, HBV, TIA) or acronyms (for example, SPECT, TRISS, SEER) may be used throughout the manuscript. On a separate page after the abstract, list the selected abbreviations and their definitions (for example, DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ). The editors will determine which lesser-known terms should not be abbreviated.

Units and Drug Names

Follow internationally accepted rules and conventions: use the international system of units (SI). If other units are mentioned, please give their equivalent in SI.
Generic names should be used for drugs, with trade name and company in parentheses. Do not use patient names, initials, or hospital numbers.

Figures and Illustrations

  • Submit manuscripts as Microsoft Word files.
  • Provide all art as files separately in highest quality format available as well as embedding visuals in the manuscript to indicate final placement. Acceptable art file formats are: JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF, PSD, and AI. Graphics should be supplied at a resolution 72 dpi or higher and equivalent or larger dimensions for placement in the manuscript.
  • Use a logical naming convention for your artwork files.
  • Artwork can be black and white or color.
  • Use the Arial font and uniform text size in illustration(s).
  • Use arrows wherever necessary for clarity. Arrows should be included as visuals in the in-text artwork to indicate points of reference but NOT in the high-quality art files attached separately. The ACS Case Reviews in Surgery staff will adapt as needed to comply with our standard formatting.
  • All artwork should include explanatory text, particularly a caption and a legend, that succinctly describes the illustrations. When arrows are used, explain each arrow clearly in the legend and spell out all abbreviations.
  • Number all figures within the manuscript consecutively (according to their sequence in the text) with Arabic numerals. Label figure parts “A” and “B”, etc., in bolded Arial font.
  • Explain, if necessary, the internal scale, and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.

Please note: If any included artwork has been previously published (either by you or by other authors, regardless of their involvement in your case report), obtain publication permission and state the permission fully in the artwork legend. Submit the artwork permission approval letter with the signed project agreement form.


Submit tables as part of the manuscript document, at the end after the reference list. Tables should be submitted in "table editor" format within the word-processed document (not in PDF or graphics format), and they should not use tabs or spaces to separate columns. If a table is large or exceedingly complex, the author should consider separating the data into 2 or more simpler tables. Submit no more than five tables, on separate pages, and number tables in Arabic numbers consecutively in order of text citation. Provide a brief title. Each column must have a heading. Put all explanatory matter in footnotes, including an explanation for all nonstandard abbreviations used in table. For every key symbol used in the table (*,†, ‡, §, ||, ¶, #, **, ††, ‡‡, §§, etc.) make sure a corresponding footnote is included.

If a table contains data from previously published material, published by you or by others, obtain written permission and acknowledge fully in the table footnote. Upload the permission letter with the manuscript submission.

Figure Legends

ACS Case Reviews in Surgery Sample Image

Supply legends separately at the end of the manuscript file, not attached to the figure. The figure itself should not include a title. A legend should begin with a brief title and a description of the illustration. Keep text in the illustrations to a minimum.

Number the figures consecutively with Arabic numbers. Label figure parts “A” and “B”, etc., in Arial bold font. When symbols, arrowheads, or letters identify parts of an illustration, explain each clearly in the legend and spell out all abbreviations. Explain, if necessary, the internal scale, and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.

If a figure has been previously published, by you or by others, obtain permission and state the permission fully in the figure legend. Upload the permission letter with the signed project agreement form.


This section should include a brief review of the literature as well as a discussion of the management and decision making involved in the case. Demonstrating an understanding of the existing literature related to the case study topic is also highly encouraged. The discussion section should also evaluate the patient case for accuracy, validity, and uniqueness; compare and contrast the case report with the published literature; derive new knowledge; summarize the essential features of the report; and draw recommendations.


Briefly reiterate evidence-based recommendations and applicability to surgical practice.

Lessons Learned

Authors must provide a brief one- to three-sentence summary of essential points, statements, or facts (not to exceed 50 words) summarizing the findings of their manuscript. If the article is accepted, it will appear in the table of contents.


If automated reference numbering software (such as EndNote) or bibliography software is used, turn it off before submitting the manuscript.

Citation in Text

Please ensure that every reference cited in the text is also present in the reference list (and vice versa). Any references cited in the abstract must be given in full. Unpublished results and personal communications are not recommended in the reference list, but they may be mentioned in the text. Citation of a reference as 'in press' implies that the item has been accepted for publication. In-text citations should appear as superscript numbers.

Reference Links

Increased discoverability of research and high quality peer review are ensured by online links to the sources cited. In order to allow us to create links to abstracting and indexing services, such as Scopus, CrossRef and PubMed, please ensure that data provided in the references are correct. Please note that incorrect surnames, journal/book titles, publication year and pagination may prevent link creation. When copying references, please be careful as they may already contain errors. Use of the DOI is encouraged.

Reference Style

ALL references should follow the AMA format.

Number consecutively in the order mentioned in text. The citation number is placed in the text after the name when the reference is cited; if no name is mentioned, the citation is placed in the text at the end of the material referred to (for example, "Meakins and Jones13 have shown that..." and "A group of oncologists has proved that if….13"). References to manuscripts accepted but not published at time of submission can be designated in the format shown in this example: "J Am Coll Surg. In press 2008." Personal communication is cited within the text, not in references. Authors must obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source of personal communication before submission. References must be verified against original documents; authors are responsible for completeness and accuracy of all citations.

The reference list should follow the text, and begin on a separate page, double-spaced and numbered consecutively. If there are more than six authors, list the first three authors, followed by et al. If there are six authors or fewer than six, list all authors.

Order of reference parts for a journal article: [Authors]. [Title]. [Journal name] [Year];[Volume]:[Pages].

Example: Valabussa P, Bonadonna G, Veronesi U. Patterns of relapse and survival following radical mastectomy. Cancer. 1978;41:1170-1178.

Case Report Submission Checklist

Please use this list to carry out a final check of your case report before you submit it for review.

Ensure that the following items are present:

Contact Information

Clearly indicate who will handle correspondence at all stages of review, revision, publication, and post-publication. Only one author is allowed to be designated as the corresponding author, with the following contact details provided:

  • Valid e-mail address
  • Complete postal address
  • Valid phone number (with country and area code)

Contact details must be kept up to date by the corresponding author.

All Necessary Files Have Been Submitted

  • Include keywords
  • Include all figures (include relevant captions) and permissions statements, when applicable
  • Include all tables (including titles, description, footnotes) and permissions statements, when applicable
  • Ensure all figure and table citations in the text match the files provided

Further Considerations

  • Manuscript has been "spell checked" and "grammar checked"
  • All references mentioned in the References are cited in the text, and vice versa
  • Permission has been obtained for use of copyrighted material from other sources (including the Internet)
  • Relevant declarations of interest have been made
  • Journal policies detailed in this guide have been reviewed

If you have any questions, please contact the ACS Case Reviews in Surgery editorial team at

Word Count

As stated previously, we highly recommend submitting case reports that are no longer than four pages (approximately 1,000 words). That said, the ultimate goal of ACS Case Reviews in Surgery is to provide access to unique and in-depth analyses of actual surgical cases. In addition, this innovative, peer-reviewed journal will provide surgeons with opportunities to learn effective surgical approaches and provide the highest quality of service and care to patients. Therefore, as long as the submitted case report accomplishes these goals, we will leave the final report length to the discretion of the author(s).


Photographs/X-rays: Photographs and X-rays are encouraged, as long as all identifying information has been removed or blacked out.

Videos: At this time, videos will not be able to be included.

Figures/Charts/Graphs/Tables/Illustrations: If the author(s) would like to include tables, illustrations, charts, figures, or graphs that require permission, please submit the granted permission(s) with the case report.

How to Submit Case Reports

Editors of ACS Case Reviews in Surgery will review each submission and decide if it is appropriate for publication in this journal. All case reports will be checked for plagiarism prior to publication. If accepted for publication, edits and/or recommendations will be sent to the authors, along with a request for changes. Once accepted, the case report will be considered the property of the American College of Surgeons, subject to all applicable copyright laws, and not publishable again in any form.

ACS Case Reviews in Surgery Case Report Submission Steps

  1. The corresponding author will submit their case report on the ACS Case Reviews in Surgery submission platform. Authors must have a ScholarOne Manuscript user account to proceed. Submissions that arrive by e-mail will not be processed for review.
  2. The EIC will conduct a preliminary review of the manuscript to determine whether to accept the submitted case study for initial review. If the manuscript is rejected, no appeals or resubmissions will be permitted.
  3. After the initial review, the case study editor will decide whether to reject the case study, accept it, or request revisions by the author. Corresponding authors will be notified via e-mail regarding the status of their submitted study. If the case study needs to be revised, authors will be provided with copies of the completed review forms.
  4. The corresponding author will be given a deadline of 14 days to submit their requested case study revisions. The upload should include the revised case study (with tracked changes implemented and/or the revised sections highlighted in yellow) and an explanatory cover letter that details the exact revisions that were made per the revision recommendations. If the corresponding author cannot meet this deadline, or if the manuscript revisions are not clearly delineated, then the case report will be immediately rejected.
  5. If the submitted case report is approved for publication, the corresponding author will be notified via e-mail. The corresponding author will also be sent an ACS Project Agreement/Financial Disclosure form to review, sign, date, and submit to At the same time, the corresponding author will be required to pay a $750 publication fee for the approved case report as well as submit approved permissions statements for any copyrighted/previously published materials, including, but not limited to, figures, charts, tables, graphs, and illustrations.
  6. Prior to publication, the corresponding author will be e-mailed a final proof of the case report; special attention should be given to the correct presentation of author names. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to ensure that all authors listed in the manuscript agree with how their names appear in the final proof. Formatting changes, grammar changes, and routine rephrasing of sentences or additions will not be permitted. Alteration recommendations should be restricted to serious changes in interpretation or corrections of data. Additionally, the corresponding author will have up to 48 hours to recommend any content alterations. After 48 hours, the content will be considered final. All changes are subject to editorial review and approval.
  7. Once the corresponding author approves the case study proof, it will be submitted for publication.
  8. After the case study has been published, the corresponding author will be contacted via e-mail with a PDF of their newly published work.

Conflict of Interest

In accordance with ACCME regulations, the American College of Surgeons must ensure that anyone who is in a position to control the content of ACS Case Reviews in Surgery has disclosed all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest as it pertains to the content of their contribution. All authors must disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence (bias) their work using the ACS Case Reviews in Surgery Disclosure Form/Project Agreement form. You are requested to identify who provided financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article and to briefly describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. If the funding source(s) had no such involvement then this should be stated. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. If none of the authors has any financial relationships to disclose, one disclosure form may be submitted for all authors. If any author has financial relationships to disclose, then a separate disclosure form must be submitted for each author. Failure or refusal to disclose or the inability to resolve the identified conflict will result in the withdrawal of your contribution.

Author(s) are strongly advised to not submit any content or other materials that compete with the work products covered by the ACS Project Agreement. Further, any and all authors will agree that ideas and materials developed by other group members and submitted to ACS for publication will not be used for any other purpose, particularly as described by the ACS Project Agreement. Additionally, authors will not develop materials that are similar to or would compete with the project covered by the ACS Project Agreement.

Statement on Duplicate Publication

Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously, that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright holder.

When submitting a paper, the author must always make a complete statement to the editor about all submissions and previous reports (including meeting presentations and posting of results in registries) that might be regarded as redundant or duplicate publication. The author must alert the editor if the manuscript includes subjects about which the authors have published a previous report or have submitted a related report to another publication. Any such report must be referred to and referenced in the new paper. Copies of such material should be included with the submitted manuscript to help the editor decide how to handle the matter.

If redundant or duplicate publication is attempted or occurs without such notification, authors should expect editorial action to be taken. At the least, prompt rejection of the submitted manuscript should be expected. If the editor was not aware of the violations and the article has already been published, then a notice of redundant or duplicate publication will probably be published with or without the author's explanation or approval.


In order to protect and maintain the confidentiality of any ACS projects, authors will agree not to make copies of, disclose, discuss, describe, distribute, or disseminate in any manner whatsoever, including in any oral, written, or electronic form, any information discussed, developed, or disseminated in conjunction with the case report. Case report content will not be used for personal or professional benefit or for any other reason, except directly in conjunction with the terms of the ACS Project Agreement. Authors will take reasonable steps to protect the confidential nature of this matter and to dispose of all materials and notes regarding such confidential information in a manner consistent with confidential information. In the event that the authors receive questions about the ACS project, the author will agree to direct all questions, concerns, or inquiries to the College’s staff. The author will acknowledge that ACS will be irreparably harmed and that the author shall have no adequate remedy at law for any breach of this provision.


In accordance with the Consensus Statement on Surgery Journals Authorship-2006, all authors should have made substantial contributions to all three of the following: (1) the conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, (3) final approval of the version to be submitted.

Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. Allowing one's name to appear as an author without having contributed significantly to the study or adding the name of an individual who has not contributed or who has not agreed to the work in its current form is considered a breach of appropriate authorship.

Human Rights

If the work involves the use of human subjects, the author should ensure that the work described has been carried out in accordance with The Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki) for experiments involving humans; Uniform Requirements for manuscripts submitted to Biomedical journals. Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.

Informed Consent

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, will not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should identify individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.

Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are de-identified, authors should provide assurance that such changes do not distort scientific meaning.

When informed consent has been obtained it will be indicated in the published article.