Search Results

You are looking at 11 - 18 of 18 items for

  • Author or Editor: Kee B. Park x
  • Refine by Access: user x
  • By Author: Park, Kee B. x
  • By Author: Park, Kee B. x
Clear All Modify Search
Full access

The global neurosurgical workforce: a mixed-methods assessment of density and growth

Swagoto Mukhopadhyay, Maria Punchak, Abbas Rattani, Ya-Ching Hung, James Dahm, Serena Faruque, Michael C. Dewan, Sophie Peeters, Sonal Sachdev, and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

In 2000, the global density of neurosurgeons was estimated at 1 per 230,000 population, which remains the most recent estimate of the global neurosurgeon workforce density. In 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were 33,193 neurosurgeons worldwide, including trainees. There have been no updates to this estimate in the past decade. Moreover, only WHO region–level granularity regarding neurosurgeon distribution exists; country-level estimates are limited. The neurosurgery workforce is a crucial component to meeting the growing burden of neurosurgical diseases, which not only represent high absolute incidences and prevalences, but also represent correspondingly high disability-adjusted life years affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Combining the lack of knowledge about the availability of the neurosurgical workforce and the increasing demand for neurosurgical services underscores the need for a system of neurosurgical workforce density surveillance.

METHODS

This study involved 3 key steps: 1) global survey/literature review to obtain the number of working neurosurgeons per WHO-recognized country, 2) regression to interpolate any missing data, and 3) calculation of workforce densities and comparison to available historical data by WHO region.

RESULTS

Data for 198 countries were collected (158) or interpolated (40). The global total number of neurosurgeons was estimated at 49,940. Overall, neurosurgeon density ranged from 0 to 58.95 (standardized to per 1,000,000 population) with a median of 3.56 (IQR 0.29–8.26). Thirty-three countries were found to have no neurosurgeons (zero). The highest density, 58.95, was in Japan, where 7495 neurosurgeons are taking care of a population of 127,131,800.

CONCLUSIONS

In 2015, the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery estimated that 143 million additional surgical procedures are needed in low- and middle-income countries each year, and a subsequent study revealed that approximately 15% of those surgical procedures are neurosurgical. Based on our results, we can conclude that there are approximately 49,940 neurosurgeons currently, worldwide. The availability of neurosurgeons appears to have increased in all geographic regions over the past decade, with Southeast Asia experiencing the greatest growth. Such remarkable expansion should be assessed to determine factors that could play a role in other regions where the acceleration of growth would be beneficial.

Free access

The role of neurosurgeons in global public health: the case of folic acid fortification of staple foods to prevent spina bifida

Nathan A. Shlobin, Jordan T. Roach, Vijaya Kancherla, Adrian Caceres, Eylem Ocal, Kemel A. Ghotme, Sandi Lam, Kee B. Park, Gail Rosseau, Jeffrey P. Blount, Frederick A. Boop, and the Global Alliance for the Prevention of Spina Bifida-F (GAPSBiF)

OBJECTIVE

The global neurosurgery movement arose at the crossroads of unmet neurosurgical needs and public health to address the global burden of neurosurgical disease. The case of folic acid fortification (FAF) of staple foods for the prevention of spina bifida and anencephaly (SBA) represents an example of a new neurosurgical paradigm focused on public health intervention in addition to the treatment of individual cases. The Global Alliance for the Prevention of Spina Bifida-F (GAPSBiF), a multidisciplinary coalition of neurosurgeons, pediatricians, geneticists, epidemiologists, food scientists, and fortification policy experts, was formed to advocate for FAF of staple foods worldwide. This paper serves as a review of the work of GAPSBiF thus far in advocating for universal FAF of commonly consumed staple foods to equitably prevent SBA caused by folic acid insufficiency.

METHODS

A narrative review was performed using the PubMed and Google Scholar databases.

RESULTS

In this review, the authors describe the impact of SBA on patients, caregivers, and health systems, as well as characterize the multifaceted requirements for proper spina bifida care, including multidisciplinary clinics and the transition of care, while highlighting the role of neurosurgeons. Then they discuss prevention policy approaches, including supplementation, fortification, and hybrid efforts with folic acid. Next, they use the example of FAF of staple foods as a model for neurosurgeons’ involvement in global public health through clinical practice, research, education and training, and advocacy. Last, they describe mechanisms for involvement in the above initiatives as a potential academic tenure track, including institutional partnerships, organized neurosurgery, neurosurgical expert groups, nongovernmental organizations, national or international governments, and multidisciplinary coalitions.

CONCLUSIONS

The role of neurosurgeons in caring for children with spina bifida extends beyond treating patients in clinical practice and includes research, education and training, and advocacy initiatives to promote context-specific, evidence-based initiatives to public health problems. Promoting and championing FAF serves as an example of the far-reaching, impactful role that neurosurgeons worldwide may play at the intersection of neurosurgery and public health.

Full access

Epidemiology of central nervous system infectious diseases: a meta-analysis and systematic review with implications for neurosurgeons worldwide

Faith C. Robertson, Jacob R. Lepard, Rania A. Mekary, Matthew C. Davis, Ismaeel Yunusa, William B. Gormley, Ronnie E. Baticulon, Muhammad Raji Mahmud, Basant K. Misra, Abbas Rattani, Michael C. Dewan, and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

Central nervous system (CNS) infections cause significant morbidity and mortality and often require neurosurgical intervention for proper diagnosis and treatment. However, neither the international burden of CNS infection, nor the current capacity of the neurosurgical workforce to treat these diseases is well characterized. The objective of this study was to elucidate the global incidence of surgically relevant CNS infection, highlighting geographic areas for targeted improvement in neurosurgical capacity.

METHODS

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed to capture studies published between 1990 and 2016. PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched using variations of terms relating to CNS infection and epidemiology (incidence, prevalence, burden, case fatality, etc.). To deliver a geographic breakdown of disease, results were pooled using the random-effects model and stratified by WHO region and national income status for the different CNS infection types.

RESULTS

The search yielded 10,906 studies, 154 of which were used in the final qualitative analysis. A meta-analysis was performed to compute disease incidence by using data extracted from 71 of the 154 studies. The remaining 83 studies were excluded from the quantitative analysis because they did not report incidence. A total of 508,078 cases of CNS infections across all studies were included, with a total sample size of 130,681,681 individuals. Mean patient age was 35.8 years (range: newborn to 95 years), and the male/female ratio was 1:1.74. Among the 71 studies with incidence data, 39 were based in high-income countries, 25 in middle-income countries, and 7 in low-income countries. The pooled incidence of studied CNS infections was consistently highest in low-income countries, followed by middle- and then high-income countries. Regarding WHO regions, Africa had the highest pooled incidence of bacterial meningitis (65 cases/100,000 people), neurocysticercosis (650/100,000), and tuberculous spondylodiscitis (55/100,000), whereas Southeast Asia had the highest pooled incidence of intracranial abscess (49/100,000), and Europe had the highest pooled incidence of nontuberculous vertebral spondylodiscitis (5/100,000). Overall, few articles reported data on deaths associated with infection. The limited case fatality data revealed the highest case fatality for tuberculous meningitis/spondylodiscitis (21.1%) and the lowest for neurocysticercosis (5.5%). In all five disease categories, funnel plots assessing for publication bias were asymmetrical and suggested that the results may underestimate the incidence of disease.

CONCLUSIONS

This systematic review and meta-analysis approximates the global incidence of neurosurgically relevant infectious diseases. These results underscore the disproportionate burden of CNS infections in the developing world, where there is a tremendous demand to provide training and resources for high-quality neurosurgical care.

Full access

Estimating the global incidence of traumatic brain injury

Michael C. Dewan, Abbas Rattani, Saksham Gupta, Ronnie E. Baticulon, Ya-Ching Hung, Maria Punchak, Amit Agrawal, Amos O. Adeleye, Mark G. Shrime, Andrés M. Rubiano, Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld, and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—the “silent epidemic”—contributes to worldwide death and disability more than any other traumatic insult. Yet, TBI incidence and distribution across regions and socioeconomic divides remain unknown. In an effort to promote advocacy, understanding, and targeted intervention, the authors sought to quantify the case burden of TBI across World Health Organization (WHO) regions and World Bank (WB) income groups.

METHODS

Open-source epidemiological data on road traffic injuries (RTIs) were used to model the incidence of TBI using literature-derived ratios. First, a systematic review on the proportion of RTIs resulting in TBI was conducted, and a meta-analysis of study-derived proportions was performed. Next, a separate systematic review identified primary source studies describing mechanisms of injury contributing to TBI, and an additional meta-analysis yielded a proportion of TBI that is secondary to the mechanism of RTI. Then, the incidence of RTI as published by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 was applied to these two ratios to generate the incidence and estimated case volume of TBI for each WHO region and WB income group.

RESULTS

Relevant articles and registries were identified via systematic review; study quality was higher in the high-income countries (HICs) than in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Sixty-nine million (95% CI 64–74 million) individuals worldwide are estimated to sustain a TBI each year. The proportion of TBIs resulting from road traffic collisions was greatest in Africa and Southeast Asia (both 56%) and lowest in North America (25%). The incidence of RTI was similar in Southeast Asia (1.5% of the population per year) and Europe (1.2%). The overall incidence of TBI per 100,000 people was greatest in North America (1299 cases, 95% CI 650–1947) and Europe (1012 cases, 95% CI 911–1113) and least in Africa (801 cases, 95% CI 732–871) and the Eastern Mediterranean (897 cases, 95% CI 771–1023). The LMICs experience nearly 3 times more cases of TBI proportionally than HICs.

CONCLUSIONS

Sixty-nine million (95% CI 64–74 million) individuals are estimated to suffer TBI from all causes each year, with the Southeast Asian and Western Pacific regions experiencing the greatest overall burden of disease. Head injury following road traffic collision is more common in LMICs, and the proportion of TBIs secondary to road traffic collision is likewise greatest in these countries. Meanwhile, the estimated incidence of TBI is highest in regions with higher-quality data, specifically in North America and Europe.

Full access

Operative and consultative proportions of neurosurgical disease worldwide: estimation from the surgeon perspective

Michael C. Dewan, Abbas Rattani, Ronnie E. Baticulon, Serena Faruque, Walter D. Johnson, Robert J. Dempsey, Michael M. Haglund, Blake C. Alkire, Kee B. Park, Benjamin C. Warf, and Mark G. Shrime

OBJECTIVE

The global magnitude of neurosurgical disease is unknown. The authors sought to estimate the surgical and consultative proportion of diseases commonly encountered by neurosurgeons, as well as surgeon case volume and perceived workload.

METHODS

An electronic survey was sent to 193 neurosurgeons previously identified via a global surgeon mapping initiative. The survey consisted of three sections aimed at quantifying surgical incidence of neurological disease, consultation incidence, and surgeon demographic data. Surgeons were asked to estimate the proportion of 11 neurological disorders that, in an ideal world, would indicate either neurosurgical operation or neurosurgical consultation. Respondent surgeons indicated their confidence level in each estimate. Demographic and surgical practice characteristics—including case volume and perceived workload—were also captured.

RESULTS

Eighty-five neurosurgeons from 57 countries, representing all WHO regions and World Bank income levels, completed the survey. Neurological conditions estimated to warrant neurosurgical consultation with the highest frequency were brain tumors (96%), spinal tumors (95%), hydrocephalus (94%), and neural tube defects (92%), whereas stroke (54%), central nervous system infection (58%), and epilepsy (40%) carried the lowest frequency. Similarly, surgery was deemed necessary for an average of 88% cases of hydrocephalus, 82% of spinal tumors and neural tube defects, and 78% of brain tumors. Degenerative spine disease (42%), stroke (31%), and epilepsy (24%) were found to warrant surgical intervention less frequently. Confidence levels were consistently high among respondents (lower quartile > 70/100 for 90% of questions), and estimates did not vary significantly across WHO regions or among income levels. Surgeons reported performing a mean of 245 cases annually (median 190). On a 100-point scale indicating a surgeon’s perceived workload (0—not busy, 100—overworked), respondents selected a mean workload of 75 (median 79).

CONCLUSIONS

With a high level of confidence and strong concordance, neurosurgeons estimated that the vast majority of patients with central nervous system tumors, hydrocephalus, or neural tube defects mandate neurosurgical involvement. A significant proportion of other common neurological diseases, such as traumatic brain and spinal injury, vascular anomalies, and degenerative spine disease, demand the attention of a neurosurgeon—whether via operative intervention or expert counsel. These estimates facilitate measurement of the expected annual volume of neurosurgical disease globally.

Free access

Letter to the Editor. The molecular mechanisms of folic acid fortification to prevent spina bifida

Juan Armando Mejía and Luis Garcia Rairan

Free access

Mapping the global neurosurgery workforce. Part 2: Trainee density

Saksham Gupta, Zsombor T. Gal, Tejas S. Athni, Chrystal Calderon, William É Callison, Olaoluwa E. Dada, Winston Lie, Carolyn Qian, Ramya Reddy, Myron Rolle, Ronnie E. Baticulon, Bipin Chaurasia, Ellianne J. Dos Santos Rubio, Yoshua Esquenazi, Alexandra J. Golby, Ahmad F. Pirzad, and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

A sustainable neurosurgery workforce depends on robust training pipelines, but the size and distribution of the global neurosurgery trainee workforce has not been described. The objective of this study was to identify the types of training programs that exist in the global neurosurgery workforce, the support that trainees receive, the diversity of trainee experiences, and the accreditation processes that exist to regulate training programs.

METHODS

This study was a subanalysis of a cross-sectional survey administered online in all 193 countries and 26 territories, independent states, and disputed regions as defined by the World Bank and United Nations. Participants were identified through neurosurgery society leadership, the personal contacts of the coauthors, and bibliometric and search engine searches. Population-weighted statistics were constructed and segregated by country income level and WHO regions.

RESULTS

Data were obtained for 187 countries (96.9%) and 25 additional territories, states, and disputed regions (96.2%). There were an estimated 1261 training programs and 10,546 trainees within the regions sampled, representing a global pooled density of 0.14 neurosurgery trainees per 100,000 people and a median national density of 0.06 trainees per 100,000 people. There was a higher density in high-income countries (HICs; 0.48 trainees per 100,000 people) compared with upper-middle-income countries (0.09 per 100,000), lower-middle-income countries (0.06 per 100,000), and low-income countries (LICs; 0.07 per 100,000). The WHO European (0.36 per 100,000) and Americas (0.27 per 100,000) regions had the highest trainee densities, while the Southeast Asia (0.04 per 100,000) and African (0.05 per 100,000) regions had the lowest densities. Among countries with training programs, LICs had the poorest availability of subspecialty training and resources such as cadaver laboratories and conference stipends for trainees. Training program accreditation processes were more common in HICs (81.8%) than in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs; 69.2%) with training programs.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors estimate that there are at least 1261 neurosurgery training programs with 10,546 total trainees worldwide. The density of neurosurgery trainees was disproportionately higher in HICs than LMICs, and the WHO European and Americas regions had the highest trainee densities. The trainee workforce in LICs had the poorest access to subspecialty training and advanced resources.

Open access

Mapping the global neurosurgery workforce. Part 1: Consultant neurosurgeon density

Saksham Gupta, Zsombor T. Gal, Tejas S. Athni, Chrystal Calderon, William É Callison, Olaoluwa E. Dada, Winston Lie, Carolyn Qian, Ramya Reddy, Myron Rolle, Ronnie E. Baticulon, Bipin Chaurasia, Ellianne J. Dos Santos Rubio, Yoshua Esquenazi, Alexandra J. Golby, Ahmad F. Pirzad, and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

It is unknown whether efforts to expand access to neurosurgery worldwide have translated to an increase in the global neurosurgery workforce, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The main objective of this study was to quantify the number and distribution of consultant neurosurgeons worldwide, while also identifying temporal and geographic trends in the neurosurgery workforce in different income levels and WHO regions, and analyzing what factors might contribute to the growth of a national workforce.

METHODS

This study was a subanalysis of an electronic cross-sectional survey administered to participants identified through neurosurgery societies, personal contacts, and online searches of all 193 countries and 26 territories, independent states, and disputed regions as defined by the World Bank (WB) and United Nations between October 2022 and March 2023. Population-weighted statistics for the consultant neurosurgery workforce and resource availability were estimated, and linear regression analysis was conducted to identify correlations with growth in the workforce.

RESULTS

Data were obtained for 192 countries (99.5%) and 25 additional territories, states, and disputed regions (96.2%). One hundred seventy-seven respondents participated in the survey. There were an estimated 72,967 neurosurgeons worldwide, representing a global pooled density of 0.93 neurosurgeons per 100,000 people and a median country density of 0.44 neurosurgeons per 100,000 people. The authors found an increasing density of consultant neurosurgeons, from low-income countries (0.12 per 100,000 people), to lower-middle-income countries (LoMICs; 0.37), to upper-middle-income countries (UpMICs; 1.13), and to high-income countries (2.44). The WHO African and Southeast Asia regions had the lowest pooled neurosurgeon density, while the Western Pacific region (WPR) had the highest density. There were 29 countries, 14 territories, and 1 independent state with no neurosurgeons. Neurosurgeons in countries with higher income–level designations had more frequent access to resources and equipment. The annual growth rates in workforce density were highest in LoMICs (26.0%) and UpMICs (21.3%), and the most rapid annual growth was in the Southeast Asia region (33.0%). Regression analysis revealed that an increasing population quartile, the Eastern Mediterranean region (relative to the WPR), the presence of a national neurosurgery society, increasing global development aid, and national gross domestic product were associated with relative growth in national neurosurgeon density.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors estimate a global consultant neurosurgeon workforce of nearly 73,000 neurosurgeons, with stark disparities in the density and growth of the workforce in different WB income-level groups and WHO regions. The presence of a neurosurgery society was correlated with the growth of the workforce, and this study identified several regional targets for further intervention to expand access to neurosurgery.