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Johan Pallud and Sophie Peeters

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


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.


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.


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.


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.

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Marc Zanello, Johan Pallud, Nicolas Baup, Sophie Peeters, Baris Turak, Marie Odile Krebs, Catherine Oppenheim, Raphael Gaillard, and Bertrand Devaux

Sainte-Anne Hospital is the largest psychiatric hospital in Paris. Its long and fascinating history began in the 18th century. In 1952, it was at Sainte-Anne Hospital that Jean Delay and Pierre Deniker used the first neuroleptic, chlorpromazine, to cure psychiatric patients, putting an end to the expansion of psychosurgery. The Department of Neuro-psychosurgery was created in 1941. The works of successive heads of the Neurosurgery Department at Sainte-Anne Hospital summarized the history of psychosurgery in France.

Pierre Puech defined psychosurgery as the necessary cooperation between neurosurgeons and psychiatrists to treat the conditions causing psychiatric symptoms, from brain tumors to mental health disorders. He reported the results of his series of 369 cases and underlined the necessity for proper follow-up and postoperative re-education, illustrating the relative caution of French neurosurgeons concerning psychosurgery.

Marcel David and his assistants tried to follow their patients closely postoperatively; this resulted in numerous publications with significant follow-up and conclusions. As early as 1955, David reported intellectual degradation 2 years after prefrontal leucotomies.

Jean Talairach, a psychiatrist who eventually trained as a neurosurgeon, was the first to describe anterior capsulotomy in 1949. He operated in several hospitals outside of Paris, including the Sarthe Psychiatric Hospital and the Public Institution of Mental Health in the Lille region. He developed stereotactic surgery, notably stereo-electroencephalography, for epilepsy surgery but also to treat psychiatric patients using stereotactic lesioning with radiofrequency ablation or radioactive seeds of yttrium-90.

The evolution of functional neurosurgery has been marked by the development of deep brain stimulation, in particular for obsessive-compulsive disorder, replacing the former lesional stereotactic procedures.

The history of Sainte-Anne Hospital’s Neurosurgery Department sheds light on the initiation—yet fast reconsideration—of psychosurgery in France. This relatively more prudent attitude toward the practice of psychosurgery compared with other countries was probably due to the historically strong collaboration between psychiatrists and neurosurgeons in France.

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Sophie Peeters, Mélanie Pagès, Guillaume Gauchotte, Catherine Miquel, Stéphanie Cartalat-Carel, Jean-Sébastien Guillamo, Laurent Capelle, Jean-Yves Delattre, Patrick Beauchesne, Marc Debouverie, Denys Fontaine, Emmanuel Jouanneau, Jean Stecken, Philippe Menei, Olivier De Witte, Philippe Colin, Didier Frappaz, Thierry Lesimple, Luc Bauchet, Manuel Lopes, Laurence Bozec, Elisabeth Moyal, Christophe Deroulers, Pascale Varlet, Marc Zanello, Fabrice Chretien, Catherine Oppenheim, Hugues Duffau, Luc Taillandier, and Johan Pallud


The goal of this study was to provide insight into the influence of gliomas on gestational outcomes, the impact of pregnancy on gliomas, and the identification of patients at risk.


In this multiinstitutional retrospective study, the authors identified 52 pregnancies in 50 women diagnosed with a glioma.


For gliomas known prior to pregnancy (n = 24), we found the following: 1) An increase in the quantified imaging growth rates occurred during pregnancy in 87% of cases. 2) Clinical deterioration occurred in 38% of cases, with seizures alone resolving after delivery in 57.2% of cases. 3) Oncological treatments were immediately performed after delivery in 25% of cases. For gliomas diagnosed during pregnancy (n = 28), we demonstrated the following: 1) The tumor was discovered during the second and third trimesters in 29% and 54% of cases, respectively, with seizures being the presenting symptom in 68% of cases. 2) The quantified imaging growth rates did not significantly decrease after delivery and before oncological treatment. 3) Clinical deterioration resolved after delivery in 21.4% of cases. 4) Oncological treatments were immediately performed after delivery in 70% of cases. Gliomas with a high grade of malignancy, negative immunoexpression of alpha-internexin, or positive immunoexpression for p53 were more likely to be associated with tumor progression during pregnancy. Deliveries were all uneventful (cesarean section in 54.5% of cases and vaginal delivery in 45.5%), and the infants were developmentally normal.


When a woman harboring a glioma envisions a pregnancy, or when a glioma is discovered in a pregnant patient, the authors suggest informing her and her partner that pregnancy may impact the evolution of the glioma clinically and radiologically. They strongly advise a multidisciplinary approach to management.

■ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: association; study design: case series; evidence: Class IV.