An article I recently edited concerns hip arthroplasty. Before I edited it, one particular sentence read like this:
Skin retraction was performed for 3 weeks, and there was no recurrence of dislocation.
This was my reaction, which of course I did not record in the manuscript: The incision was left open, with the skin retracted, for 3 weeks?! Or did surgery happen in extremely slow motion, with it taking the surgeon 3 weeks to retract the skin?!
This is how that sentence should have read:
The patient was placed in skin traction for 3 weeks, and dislocation did not recur.
Here is an explanation of skin traction, which is definitely not the same thing as skin retraction.
Spelling checkers and editing macros can help catch spelling errors and decrease time spent on rote editorial tasks, respectively, but they can't replace human editors. Good editing requires the use of a brain.
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