Since the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948, the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) has been the major forum for discussion, debate, and approval of the global health agenda. As such, it informs the framework for the policies and budgets of many of its Member States. For most of its history, a significant portion of the attention of health ministers and Member States has been given to issues of clean water, vaccination, and communicable diseases. For neurosurgeons, the adoption of WHA Resolution 68.15 changed the global health landscape because the importance of surgical care for universal health coverage was highlighted in the document. This resolution was adopted in 2015, shortly after the publication of The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery Report titled “Global Surgery 2030: evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare and economic development.” Mandating global strengthening of emergency and essential surgical care and anesthesia, this resolution has led to the formation of surgical and anesthesia collaborations that center on WHO and can be facilitated via the WHA. Participation by neurosurgeons has grown dramatically, in part due to the official relations between WHO and the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies, with the result that global neurosurgery is gaining momentum.
Gail Rosseau, Walter D. Johnson, Kee B. Park, Miguel Arráez Sánchez, Franco Servadei and Kerry A. Vaughan
Joao Paulo Almeida, Carlos Velásquez, Claire Karekezi, Miguel Marigil, Mojgan Hodaie, James T. Rutka and Mark Bernstein
International collaborations between high-income (HICs) and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have been developed as an attempt to reduce the inequalities in surgical care around the world. In this paper the authors review different models for international surgical education and describe projects developed by the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto in this field.
The authors conducted a review of models of international surgical education reported in the literature in the last 15 years. Previous publications on global neurosurgery reported by the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto were reviewed to exemplify the applications and challenges of international surgical collaborations.
The most common models for international surgical education and collaboration include international surgical missions, long-term international partnerships, fellowship training models, and online surgical education. Development of such collaborations involves different challenges, including limited time availability, scarce funding/resources, sociocultural barriers, ethical challenges, and lack of organizational support. Of note, evaluation of outcomes of international surgical projects remains limited, and the development and application of assessment tools, such as the recently proposed Framework for the Assessment of International Surgical Success (FAIRNeSS), is encouraged.
Actions to reduce inequality in surgical care should be implemented around the world. Different models can be used for bilateral exchange of knowledge and improvement of surgical care delivery in regions where there is poor access to surgical care. Implementation of global neurosurgery initiatives faces multiple limitations that can be ameliorated if systematic changes occur, such as the development of academic positions in global surgery, careful selection of participant centers, governmental and nongovernmental financial support, and routine application of outcome evaluation for international surgical collaborations.
Zhengda Yu, N. U. Farrukh Hameed, Nan Zhang, Bin Wu, Jie Zhang, Junfeng Lu, Tianming Qiu, Dongxiao Zhuang, Hong Chen and Jinsong Wu
Resection of insular tumors in the dominant hemisphere poses a significant risk of postoperative motor and language deficits. The authors present a case in which intraoperative awake mapping and multi-modal imaging was used to help preserve function while resecting a dominant insular glioma. The patient, a 55-year-old man, came to the clinic after experiencing sudden onset of numbness in the right limbs for 4 months. Preoperative MRI revealed a nonenhancing lesion in the left insular lobe. Gross-total tumor resection was achieved through the transcortical approach, and the patient recovered without language or motor deficits. Informed patient consent was obtained.
The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/gFky09ekmzw.
Richard W. Byrne, Nader Sanai, Jose A. Landeiro and Hugues Duffau
Charles L. Branch Jr., Frederick Boop, Michael M. Haglund and Robert J. Dempsey
Sima Sayyahmelli, Ilhan Aydin, Bryan Wheeler and Mustafa K. Baskaya
Although the surgical treatment of thalamic tumors remains challenging due to the proximity to the internal capsule, safe resection of gliomas or metastatic tumors of the thalamus are possible in some selected cases due to a better understanding of microsurgical anatomy and due to advances in neurophysiological mapping and monitoring.
In this video, the authors demonstrate the use of mapping of the internal capsule with direct subcortical stimulation for the resection of a metastatic tumor. The patient is a 58-year-old man with a history of renal cell carcinoma and metastasis in the left thalamus and parieto-occipital region. He underwent stereotactic radiation of both tumors at an outside hospital. Due to the increased size of both tumors and surrounding vasogenic edema, he was referred to the authors for resection. He underwent gross-total resection via an interhemispheric transcallosal approach. His postoperative course was uneventful and did not have any focal neurological deficits, including motor, sensory, or visual functions.
The authors’ surgical approach to this metastatic thalamic tumor and the intraoperative real-time direct subcortical stimulation of the internal capsule during surgery are demonstrated in this video.
The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/DmDxjJUSZWU.
Carlos Velásquez, Elsa Goméz and Juan Martino
Parietal lobe functions include somesthesia, language, calculation, self-motion perception, and visuospatial awareness. In this video, the authors show the intraoperative mapping of a left parietal lobe for a low-grade glioma resection. Standard sensory and language mapping were performed. Interestingly, by using the “Line Bisection” task, subcortical stimulation of the gyrus angularis was repeatedly associated with ipsilateral spatial neglect, often described in the right parietal lobe. In a similar way, subcortical stimulation in a more posterior point elicited episodes of vertigo, probably due to stimulation of the superior longitudinal fasciculus. Both findings were useful to define the functional limit of the resection.
The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/qgGDRW_6u0A.
Linda W. Xu, Silvia D. Vaca, Joy Q. He, Juliet Nalwanga, Christine Muhumuza, Joel Kiryabwire, Hussein Ssenyonjo, John Mukasa, Michael Muhumuza and Gerald Grant
Children with neural tube defects (NTDs) require timely surgical intervention coupled with long-term management by multiple highly trained specialty healthcare teams. In resource-limited settings, outcomes are greatly affected by the lack of coordinated care. The purpose of this study was to characterize outcomes of spina bifida patients treated at Mulago National Referral Hospital (MNRH) through follow-up phone surveys.
All children presenting to MNRH with NTDs between January 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015, were eligible for this study. For those with a documented telephone number, follow-up phone surveys were conducted with the children’s caregivers to assess mortality, morbidity, follow-up healthcare, and access to medical resources.
Of the 201 patients, the vast majority (n = 185, 92%) were diagnosed with myelomeningocele. The median age at presentation was 6 days, the median length of stay was 20 days, and the median time to surgery was 10 days. Half of the patients had documented surgeries, with 5% receiving multiple procedures (n = 102, 51%): 80 defect closures (40%), 32 ventriculoperitoneal shunts (15%), and 1 endoscopic third ventriculostomy (0.5%). Phone surveys were completed for 53 patients with a median time to follow-up of 1.5 years. There were no statistically significant differences in demographics between the surveyed and nonrespondent groups. The 1-year mortality rate was 34% (n = 18). At the time of survey, 91% of the survivors (n = 30) have received healthcare since their initial discharge from MNRH, with 67% (n = 22) returning to MNRH. Hydrocephalus was diagnosed in 29 patients (88%). Caregivers reported physical deficits in 39% of patients (n = 13), clubfoot in 18% (n = 6), and bowel or bladder incontinence in 12% (n = 4). The surgical complication rate was 2.5%. Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended pediatric revision scores were correlated with upper good recovery in 58% (n = 19) of patients, lower good recovery in 30% (n = 10), and moderate disability in 12% of patients (n = 4). Only 5 patients (15%) reported access to home health resources postdischarge.
This study is the first to characterize the outcomes of children with NTDs that were treated at Uganda’s national referral hospital. There is a great need for improved access to and coordination of care in antenatal, perioperative, and long-term settings to improve morbidity and mortality.
Federico Nicolosi, Zefferino Rossini, Ismail Zaed, Angelos G. Kolias, Maurizio Fornari and Franco Servadei
Neurosurgical training is usually based on traditional sources of education, such as papers, books, direct surgical experience, and cadaveric hands-on courses. In low-middle income countries, standard education programs are often unavailable, mainly owing to the lack of human and economic resources. Introducing digital platforms in these settings could be an alternative solution for bridging the gap between Western and poor countries in neurosurgical knowledge.
The authors identified from the Internet the main digital platforms that could easily be adopted in low-middle income countries. They selected free/low-cost mobile content with high educational impact.
The platforms that were identified as fulfilling the characteristics described above are WFNS Young Neurosurgeons Forum Stream, Brainbook, NeuroMind, UpSurgeOn, The Neurosurgical Atlas, Touch surgery, The 100 UCLA Subjects in Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Survival Guide, EANS (European Association of Neurosurgical Societies) Academy, Neurosurgical.TV, 3D Neuroanatomy, The Rhoton Collection, and Hinari. These platforms consist of webinars, 3D interactive neuroanatomy and neurosurgery content, videos, and e-learning programs supported by neurosurgical associations or journals.
Digital education is an emerging tool for contributing to the spread of information in the neurosurgical community. The continuous improvement in the quality of content will rapidly increase the scientific validity of digital programs. In conclusion, the fast and easy access to digital resources could contribute to promote neurosurgical education in countries with limited facilities.