Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent, which should be documented in the paper. Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives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 an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients whether any potential identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication. Patient consent should be written and archived with the journal, the authors, or both, as dictated by local regulations or laws. We decide that patient confidentiality is better guarded by having the author archive the consent and instead providing the journal with a written statement that attests that they have received and archived written patient consent. When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article.
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, and editors should so note, that such changes do not distort scientific meaning.
Patient identifiers will not be published in our journals, unless written informed consent is given and the content is essential for the scientific purpose and merit of the manuscript. Photographs of subjects showing any recognizable features must be accompanied by their signed release authorizing publication, as must case reports that provide enough unique identification of a person (other than name) to make recognition possible. Failure to obtain informed consent of patient prior to submission would result in manuscript rejection.