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Parisa Nicole Fallah and Mark Bernstein

OBJECTIVE

There is a global lack of access to surgical care, and this issue disproportionately affects those in low- and middle-income countries. Global surgery academic collaborations (GSACs) between surgeons in high-income countries and those in low- and middle-income countries are one possible sustainable way to address the global surgical need. The objective of this study was to examine the barriers to participation in GSACs and to suggest ways to increase involvement.

METHODS

A convenience sample of 86 surgeons, anesthesiologists, other physicians, residents, fellows, and nurses from the US, Canada, and Norway was used. Participants were all health care providers from multiple specialties and multiple academic centers with varied involvement in GSACs. More than half of the participants were neurosurgeons. Participants were interviewed in person or over Skype in Toronto over the course of 2 months by using a predetermined set of open-ended questions. Thematic content analysis was used to evaluate the participants’ responses.

RESULTS

Based on the data, 3 main themes arose that pointed to individual, community, and system barriers for involvement in GSACs. Individual barriers included loss of income, family commitments, young career, responsibility to local patients, skepticism of global surgery efforts, ethical concerns, and safety concerns. Community barriers included insufficient mentorship and lack of support from colleagues. System barriers included lack of time, minimal academic recognition, insufficient awareness, insufficient administrative support and organization, and low political and funding support.

CONCLUSIONS

Steps can be taken to address some of these barriers and to increase the involvement of surgeons from high-income countries in GSACs. This could lead to a necessary scale-up of global surgery efforts that may help increase worldwide access to surgical care.

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Parisa Nicole Fallah and Mark Bernstein

OBJECTIVE

There is a global lack of access to surgical care, and this issue disproportionately affects those in low- and middle-income countries. Global surgery academic collaborations (GSACs) between surgeons in high-income countries and those in low- and middle-income countries are one possible sustainable way to address the global surgical need. The objective of this study was to examine the barriers to participation in GSACs and to suggest ways to increase involvement.

METHODS

A convenience sample of 86 surgeons, anesthesiologists, other physicians, residents, fellows, and nurses from the US, Canada, and Norway was used. Participants were all health care providers from multiple specialties and multiple academic centers with varied involvement in GSACs. More than half of the participants were neurosurgeons. Participants were interviewed in person or over Skype in Toronto over the course of 2 months by using a predetermined set of open-ended questions. Thematic content analysis was used to evaluate the participants’ responses.

RESULTS

Based on the data, 3 main themes arose that pointed to individual, community, and system barriers for involvement in GSACs. Individual barriers included loss of income, family commitments, young career, responsibility to local patients, skepticism of global surgery efforts, ethical concerns, and safety concerns. Community barriers included insufficient mentorship and lack of support from colleagues. System barriers included lack of time, minimal academic recognition, insufficient awareness, insufficient administrative support and organization, and low political and funding support.

CONCLUSIONS

Steps can be taken to address some of these barriers and to increase the involvement of surgeons from high-income countries in GSACs. This could lead to a necessary scale-up of global surgery efforts that may help increase worldwide access to surgical care.

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Li Wang, Wei Chen, Fujun Liu, Li F. Zhang and Jing Chen

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Georgios Tsermoulas, Mazda K. Turel, Jared T. Wilcox, David Shultz, Richard Farb, Gelareh Zadeh and Mark Bernstein

OBJECTIVE

Multiple meningiomas account for 1%–10% of meningiomas. This study describes epidemiological aspects of the disease and its management, which is more challenging than for single tumors.

METHODS

A consecutive series of adult patients with ≥ 2 spatially separated meningiomas was reviewed. Patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 were excluded. The authors collected clinical, imaging, histological, and treatment data to obtain information on epidemiology, management options, and outcomes of active treatment and surveillance.

RESULTS

A total of 133 consecutive patients were included over 25 years, with a total of 395 synchronous and 53 metachronous meningiomas, and a median of 2 tumors per patient. One hundred six patients had sporadic disease, 26 had radiation-induced disease, and 1 had familial meningiomatosis. At presentation, half of the patients were asymptomatic. In terms of their maximum cross-sectional diameter, the tumors were small (≤ 2 cm) in 67% and large (> 4 cm) in 11% of the meningiomas. Fifty-four patients had upfront treatment, and 31 had delayed treatment after an observation period (mean 4 years). One in 4 patients had ≥ 2 meningiomas treated. Overall, 64% of patients had treatment for 142 tumors—67 with surgery and 18 with radiotherapy alone. The mean follow-up was 7 years, with 13% of treated patients receiving salvage therapy. Approximately 1 in 4 patients who underwent surgery had ≥ 1 WHO Grade II or III meningioma. Meningiomas of different histological subtypes and grades in the same patient were not uncommon.

CONCLUSIONS

Multiple meningiomas are often asymptomatic, probably because the majority are small and a significant proportion are induced by radiation. Approximately two-thirds of patients with multiple meningiomas require therapy, but only one-third of all meningiomas need active treatment. The authors recommend surveillance for stable and asymptomatic meningiomas and therapy for those that are symptomatic or growing.

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Miguel Marigil and Mark Bernstein

Technological breakthroughs along with modern application of awake craniotomy and new neuroanesthesia protocols have led to a progressive development in outpatient brain tumor surgery and improved surgical outcomes. As a result, outpatient neurosurgery has become a standard of care at the authors’ center due to its clinical benefits and impact on patient recovery and overall satisfaction. On the other hand, the financial savings derived from its application is also another favorable factor exerting influence on patients, health care systems, and society.

Although validated several years ago and with recent data supporting its application, outpatient brain tumor surgery has not gained the traction that it deserves, based on scientific skepticism and perceived potential for medicolegal issues. The goal of this review, based on the available literature and the senior author’s experience in outpatient brain tumor surgery, was to evaluate the most important aspects regarding indications, clinical outcomes, economic burden, and patient perceptions.

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Chiazor U. Onyia and Omotayo A. Ojo

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Joao Paulo Almeida, Carlos Velásquez, Claire Karekezi, Miguel Marigil, Mojgan Hodaie, James T. Rutka and Mark Bernstein

OBJECTIVE

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.

METHODS

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.

RESULTS

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.