Harsh Deora, Nishant S. Yagnick and Manjul Tripathi
Harsh Deora, Dwarakanath Srinivas, Dhaval Shukla, B. Indira Devi, Ajit Mishra, Manish Beniwal, Narasinga Rao Kannepalli and Sampath Somanna
Multiple-site neural tube defects (MNTDs) are very uncommon, with the predominant number of cases being reported in developing countries. The classic theory of neural tube closure fails to explain the occurrence of these defects. Multisite closure theory, first proposed in 1995, explains most of the occurrences with a few modifications specific to a few defects. In this paper, the authors endeavor to explain all the defects, along with their genetic and embryological bases, and to review the available literature and discuss their own experience in the management of these complex cases.
The authors retrospectively reviewed the data of all the patients treated surgically for MNTDs over that past 14 years. All possible demographic data, clinical details, and radiological imaging data were reviewed. In addition, surgical parameters, complications, and status at follow-up of more than 12 months were evaluated. All previously reported cases of MNTD were analyzed, and comparisons with the present series were made.
A total of 3 major series (including the present one) on MNTDs have been from India. A total of 57 such cases (including those of the present series) have been reported in the available literature. While previous series reported a higher incidence of spinal defects, the present series had a higher rate of cephalic defects (55%). Among the reported cases, insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was necessary in 12 (26%), and only 4 patients were operated on in 2 stages. Neurological status at presentation dictated outcome.
MNTDs are extremely rare, and their embryogenesis is different from that of single neural tube defects. Simultaneous repair of 2 or even 3 defects is possible in a single-stage surgery. The requirement of a shunt is uncommon, and complications following surgery are rare. Folic acid supplementation may reduce the incidence of defects.
Harsh Deora, Kanwaljeet Garg, Manjul Tripathi, Shashwat Mishra and Bipin Chaurasia
The evolution of the neurosurgical specialty in lower-middle-income countries is uniformly a narrative of continuous struggle for recognition and resource allocation. Therefore, it is not surprising that neurosurgical education and residency training in these countries is relatively nascent. Dr. Harvey Cushing in 1901 declared that he would specialize in neurosurgery and gave his greatest contribution to the advancement of neurosurgical education by laying the foundations of a structured residency training program. Similar efforts in lower-middle-income countries have been impeded by economic instability and the lack of well-established medical education paradigms. The authors sought to evaluate the residency programs in these nations by conducting a survey among the biggest stakeholders in these educational programs: the neurosurgical residents.
A questionnaire addressing various aspects of the residency program from a resident’s perspective was prepared with Google Forms and circulated among neurosurgery residents through social media and email groups. Where applicable, a 5-point Likert scale was used to grade the responses to the questions. Responses were collected from May to October 2019 and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Complete anonymity of the respondents was ensured to keep the responses unbiased.
A total of 195 responses were received, with 189 of them from lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). The majority of these were from India (75%), followed by Brazil and Pakistan. An abiding concern among residents was lack of work hour regulations, inadequate exposure to emerging subspecialties, and the need for better hands-on training (> 60% each). Of the training institutions represented, 89% were offering more than 500 major neurosurgical surgeries per year, and 40% of the respondents never got exposure to any subspecialty. The popularity of electronic learning resources was discernible and most residents seemed to be satisfied with the existent system of evaluation. Significant differences (p < 0.05) among responses from India compared with those from other countries were found in terms of work hour regulations and subspecialty exposure.
It is prudent that concerned authorities in LMICs recognize and address the deficiencies perceived by neurosurgery residents in their training programs. A determined effort in this direction would be endorsed and assisted by a host of international neurosurgical societies when it is felt that domestic resources may not be adequate. Quality control and close scrutiny of training programs should ensure that the interests of neurosurgical trainees are best served.