Course Co-director Neurosurgery


Course Co-director Neurosurgery


Global neurosurgery partnership: need for more adequate collaborations between high-income countries and low-income countries

In this issue of Acta Neurochirurgica, Alba Corell, MD, et al. publish an article entitled “Successful adaptation of twinning concept for Global neurosurgery collaborations – A validation study.” The paper narrates the efforts of the International Neurosurgical Twinning Modeled for Africa (INTIMA) created by the Swedish African Neurosurgical Collaboration (SANC), focusing on developing established but resource-challenged neurosurgical departments in some west African regions [2]. It is a call for more adequate collaboration in global neurosurgery not only between Sweden and Gambia but also for other low-income countries and their partners.

Following the Lancet report on the state of global surgery in 2015 , the global surgery (GS) movement was born. This report highlighted catastrophic numbers including five billion people or five out of every seven people in the world, not having adequate access to timely and safe surgical and anesthesia care. The report brought surgery to the international level and different efforts were initiated to improve surgical care delivery and its integration into different national health plans. Following the GS movement, concern regarding neurosurgical care delivery rose, Dewan et al., noted in their 2018 paper the clear lack of neurosurgeons in most low-resourced countries. It is estimated that low- (LIC) and lower-middle-income countries (LMIC) account for 50–80% of the world’s neurosurgical burden of disease and globally, about 22.6 million individuals per year suffer from neurosurgical conditions, with five million of these individuals left untreated .

Neurosurgical service delivery is an integral component of surgical health systems, and a well-organized neurosurgical system serves as a beacon of effectiveness within broader health systems. However, neurosurgery is unfortunately often left behind, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where significant disparities exist in the neurosurgery-related workforce and outputs . The global neurosurgery (GNS) movement emerged and has been driven by neurosurgeons in high-income countries (HIC) seeking to serve the needs of people in limited-resourced countries. This movement has led to increased efforts toward strengthening LICs and LMICs neurosurgical care delivery and research productivity over the last few years. Global neurosurgery partnerships work to address the unmet neurosurgical needs and serve a critical role in bridging disparities in neurosurgery-related inputs and outputs through various pillars including service delivery, education and training, clinical and academic capacity-building, health policy, and health system strengthening.

To date, there is not yet a validated framework to assess the effectiveness of global neurosurgical partnerships. In most SSA countries, like in many LIMCs, these partnerships often entail collaborations with higher-performing countries from the global north. However, these collaborations raise concerns regarding ethical dilemmas and sustainability, therefore, requiring close monitoring. As these collaborations are increasing and unprecedented resources are being mobilized to address the burden of neurosurgery-amenable conditions in SSA, it is imperative to explore strategies for more effective partnerships.

Pediatric brain tumors in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Objective: Brain tumors are a global problem, leading to higher cancer-related morbidity and mortality rates in children. Despite the progressive though slow advances in neuro-oncology care, research, and diagnostics in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the epidemiological landscape of pediatric brain tumors (PBTs) remains underestimated. This study aimed to systematically analyze the distribution of PBT types in SSA.

Methods: Ovid Medline, Global Index Medicus, African Journals Online, Google Scholar, and faculty of medicine libraries were searched for literature on PBTs in SSA published before October 29, 2022. A proportional meta-analysis was performed.

Results: Forty-nine studies, involving 2360 children, met the inclusion criteria for review; only 20 (40.82%) were included in the quantitative analysis. South Africa and Nigeria were the countries with the most abundant data. Glioma not otherwise specified (NOS) was the common PBT in the 4 SSA regions combined. However, medulloblastoma was more commonly reported in Southern SSA (p = 0.01) than in other regions. The prevalence and the overall pooled proportion of the 3 common PBTs was estimated at 46.27% and 0.41 (95% CI 0.32-0.50, 95% prediction interval [PI] 0.11-0.79), 25.34% and 0.18 (95% CI 0.14-0.21, 95% PI 0.06-0.40), and 12.67% and 0.12 (95% CI 0.09-0.15, 95% PI 0.04-0.29) for glioma NOS, medulloblastoma, and craniopharyngioma, respectively. Sample size moderated the estimated proportion of glioma NOS (p = 0.02). The highest proportion of craniopharyngiomas was in Western SSA, and medulloblastoma and glioma NOS in Central SSA.

Conclusions: These findings provide insight into the trends of PBT types and the proportion of the top 3 most common tumors across SSA. Although statistical conclusions are difficult due to the inconsistency in the data, the study identifies critical areas for policy development and collaborations that can facilitate improved outcomes in PBTs in SSA. More accurate epidemiological studies of these tumors are needed to better understand the burden of the disease and the geographic variation in their distribution, and to raise awareness in their subsequent management.

Keywords: epidemiology; global neurosurgery; global surgery; meta-analysis; pediatric brain tumor; sub-Saharan Africa.

The Natural History and Treatment of Meningiomas: An Update. Semin Neurol.


Meningiomas are the most frequent nonmalignant tumors of the central nervous system (CNS). Despite their benign nature and slow-growing pattern, if not diagnosed early, these tumors may reach relatively large sizes causing significant morbidity and mortality. Some variants are located in hard-to-access locations, compressing critical neurovascular structures, and making the surgical management even more challenging. Although most meningiomas have a good long-term prognosis after treatment, there are still controversies over their management in a subset of cases. While surgery is the first-line treatment, the use of fractionated radiotherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery is indicated for residual or recurrent tumors, small lesions, and tumors in challenging locations. Advances in molecular genetics and ongoing clinical trial results have recently helped both to refine the diagnosis and provide hope for effective biomolecular target-based medications for treatment. This article reviews the natural history and current therapeutic options for CNS meningiomas.

Reducing the Gap in Neurosurgical Education in LMICs: A Report of a Non-Profit Educational Program.


Introduction: Central to neurosurgical care, neurosurgical education is particularly needed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where opportunities for neurosurgical training are limited due to social and economic constraints and an inadequate workforce. The present paper aims ) to evaluate the validity and usability of a cadaver-free hybrid system in the context of LMICs and  to report their learning needs and whether the courses meet those needs via a comprehensive survey.

Methods: From April to November 2021, a non-profit initiative consisting of a series of innovative cadaver-free courses based on virtual and practical training was organized. This project emerged from a collaboration between the Young Neurosurgeons Forum of the World Federation of Neurological Societies (WFNS), the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Neurotrauma, and UpSurgeOn, an Italian hi-tech company specialized in simulation technologies, creator of the UpSurgeOn Box, a hyper-realistic simulator of cranial approaches fused with augmented reality. Over that period, 11 cadaver-free courses were held in LMICs using remote hands-on Box simulators.

Results: One hundred sixty-eight participants completed an online survey after course completion of the course. The anatomical accuracy of simulators was overall rated high by the participant. The simulator provided a challenging but manageable learning curve, and 86% of participants found the Box to be very intuitive to use. When asked if the sequence of mental training (app), hybrid training (Augmented Reality), and manual training (the Box) was an effective method of training to fill the gap between theoretical knowledge and practice on a real patient/cadaver, 83% of participants agreed. Overall, the hands-on activities on the simulators have been satisfactory, as well as the integration between physical and digital simulation.

Conclusions: This project demonstrated that a cadaver-free hybrid (virtual/hands-on) training system could potentially participate in accelerating the learning curve of neurosurgical residents, especially in the setting of limited training possibilities such as LMICs, which were only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promotion of a neurosurgical academic journal on social media: a 1-year experience.


Background: Social media (SoMe) use, in all of its forms, has seen massively increased throughout the past two decades, including academic publishing. Many journals have established a SoMe presence, yet the influence of promotion of scientific publications on their visibility and impact remains poorly studied. The European Journal of Neurosurgery «Acta Neurochirurgica» has established its SoMe presence in form of a Twitter account that regularly promotes its publications. We aim to analyze the impact of this initial SoMe campaign on various alternative metrics (altmetrics).

Methods: A retrospective analysis of all articles published in the journal Acta Neurochirurgica between May 1st, 2018, and April 30th, 2020, was performed. These articles were divided into a historical control group – containing the articles published between May 1st, 2018, and April 30th, 2019, when the SoMe campaign was not yet established – and into an intervention group. Several altmetrics were analyzed, along with website visits and PDF downloads per month.

Results: In total, 784 articles published during the study period, 128 (16.3%) were promoted via Twitter. During the promotion period, 29.7% of published articles were promoted. Overall, the published articles reached a mean of 31.3 ± 50.5 website visits and 17.5 ± 31.25 PDF downloads per month. Comparing the two study periods, no statistically significant differences in website visits (26.91 ± 32.87 vs. 34.90 ± 61.08, p = 0.189) and PDF downloads (17.52 ± 31.25 vs. 15.33 ± 16.07, p = 0.276) were detected. However, overall compared to non-promoted articles, promoted articles were visited (48.9 ± 95.0 vs. 29.0 ± 37.0, p = 0.005) and downloaded significantly more (25.7 ± 66.7 vs. 16.6 ± 18.0, p = 0.045) when compared to those who were not promoted during the promotion period.

Conclusions: We report a 1-year initial experience with promotion of a general neurosurgical journal on Twitter. Our data suggest a clear benefit of promotion on article site visits and article downloads, although no single responsible element could be determined in terms of altmetrics. The impact of SoMe promotion on other metrics, including traditional bibliometrics such as citations and journal impact factor, remains to be determined.

Determining Critical Topics for Undergraduate Surgical Education in Rwanda: Results of a Modified Delphi Process and a Consensus Conference.


Background Developing a contextually appropriate curriculum is critical to train physicians who can address surgical challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. An innovative modified Delphi process was used to identify contextually optimized curricular content to meet sub-Saharan Africa and Rwanda’s surgical needs. Methods Participants were surgeons from East, Central, Southern, and West Africa and general practitioners with surgical experience. Delphi participants excluded or prioritized surgical topic areas generated from extensive grey and formal literature review. Surgical educators first screened and condensed identified topics. Round 1 screened and prioritized identified topics, with a 75% consensus cut-off based on the content validity index and a prioritization score. Topics that reached consensus were screened again in round 2 and re-prioritized, following controlled feedback. Frequencies for aggregate prioritization scores, experts in agreement, item-level content validity index, universal agreement and scale-level content validity index based on the average method (S-CVI/Ave) using proportion relevance, and intra-class correlation (ICC) (based on a mean-rating, consistency, two-way mixed-effects model) were performed. We also used arithmetic mean values and modal frequency. Cronbach’s Alpha was also calculated to ascertain reliability. Results were validated through a multi-institution consensus conference attended by Rwanda-based surgical specialists, general practitioners, medical students, surgical educators, and surgical association representatives using an inclusive, participatory, collaborative, agreement-seeking, and cooperative, a priori consensus decision-making model. Results Two-hundred and sixty-seven broad surgical content areas were identified through the initial round and presented to experts. In round 2, a total of 247 (92%) content areas reached 75% consensus among 31 experts. Topics that did not achieve consensus consisted broadly of small intestinal malignancies, rare hepatobiliary pathologies, and transplantation. In the final round, 99.6% of content areas reached 75% consensus among 31 experts. The highest prioritization was on wound healing, fluid and electrolyte management, and appendicitis, followed by metabolic response, infection, preoperative preparation, antibiotics, small bowel obstruction and perforation, breast infection, acute urinary retention, testicular torsion, hemorrhoids, and surgical ethics. Overall, the consistency and average agreement between panel experts was strong. ICC was 0.856 (95% CI: 0.83-0.87). Cronbach’s Alpha for round 2 was very strong (0.985, 95% CI: 0.976-0.991) and higher than round 1, demonstrating strong reliability. All 246 topics from round 4 were verbally accepted by 40 participants in open forum discussions during the consensus conference. Conclusions A modified Delphi process and consensus were able to identify essential topics to be included within a highly contextualized, locally driven surgical clerkship curriculum delivered in rural Rwanda. Other contexts can use similar processes to develop relevant curricula.

Editorial: Low-cost patient-specific cranial implants for cranioplasty

In this issue of Acta Neurochirurgica, Alice Xu, MD, et al. publish an article entitled “Towards Global Availability of Low-Cost, Patient-Specific Cranial Implants: Creation and Validation of Automated CranialRebuild Freeware Application.” This paper explores the use of image-segmentation, modeling software, and the use of 3D printers to produce low-cost patient-specific cranial implants (PSCIs). According to the authors, this technique shows lower costs and may come as an effective solution for cranioplasty in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Craniofacial defects, especially post-decompressive craniectomy (DC), often result in esthetic and functional deficits. This often affects the patient’s psyche and wellbeing. Cranioplasty (CP) is a neurosurgical procedure that aims to restore aesthesis, improve cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics, provide cerebral protection, and can facilitate neurological rehabilitation while enhancing recovery. Preserved autologous bones are the favored option for filling small- to medium-size defects; for large cranial defects, CP with autologous bone is often challenging, and other various materials may be used. Several examples exist on the market, including metal or mesh plates, poly-methyl-methacrylate (PMMA), hydroxyapatite ceramics, or carbon fiber reinforced polymer and, more recently, in the trends of CP material, polyether-ether-ketone (PEEK) and polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) .

Patient-specific implants are believed to be the optimal solution, but their use is limited or often impractical in most LMICs, where financial restrictions limit options for hermetically precise technology innovations. Medical technology has enabled unimagined advances, but often at great cost financially. In the circumstances where such technology is unavailable or unaffordable, innovations proliferate. A key part of the efforts to improve surgical provision globally includes providing affordable innovative solutions for LMICs. These medical innovations though require a complex mix of private and public sector inputs due to the ethical dimension of medical research, a rigorous regulatory framework, liability questions, cost-effectiveness, and practicability.

The challenge most LMIC-oriented innovations face is that they are designed in high-income countries (HICs) with limited LMIC contribution and implementation. Whereas it may appear that the benefits of an effective innovation developed in an HIC will translate on the ground, the reality is different. The 3D implants proposed by Xu et al. require on-the-ground evaluation in an LMIC settings. In fact, any of these countries do not have access to the required equipment and consumables, and the cost may therefore be wrongly assessed to be low. The significant health system-level differences between HICs and LMICs translate to unforeseen costs for patients, neurosurgery providers, and health systems. While it is true that the decreased cost of 3D printers and specific computer software has promoted adoption in some HICs, these technologies are still scarce in LMICs. The upfront costs of 3D printing adoption remain exorbitant for most LMIC hospitals. Hospital administrations’ competing budgetary priorities prevent equipment acquisition and personnel capacity-building. In addition, LMIC hospital administrators and insurance providers are yet to define how to price and whether to cover these services. As a result, most care is covered out-of-pocket from patients.

Great innovations are user-centered and integrate the experiences of extreme users. By collaborating with LMIC colleagues from the get-go, frugal innovators can incorporate these considerations in their product design. For example, Zipline, a US-based autonomous drone delivery company, piloted its innovation in my home country (Rwanda). As of 2023, the company delivers more than 75% of blood products in Rwanda and has expanded to Ghana and Nigeria. Zipline’s collaboration with the Rwandan government created buy-in which translated into greater adoption from early adopters (i.e., Rwandan, Ghanaian, and Nigerian governments) to an early majority (i.e., US-based users). In addition, their LMIC experience helped improve their minimum viable product and develop new use cases (i.e., vaccine delivery). In summary, early and intentional partnership of HIC disruptive innovators with LMIC colleagues is medically, operationally, and financially advantageous.

Traumatic brain injuries are the most prevalent neurosurgical disorder worldwide—affecting more than six million individuals each year. More than three-quarters of these individuals live in LMICs where access to timely care is limited. DC and CP are essential to the management of numerous patients. An innovation like the personalized patient implants by Xu et al. may directly improve patient outcomes in most LMICs. As such, this innovation should be supported and put in a position to succeed. In an era of decolonizing Global Neurosurgery, an evolving interdisciplinary subspecialty that aims to achieve global health equity for all people worldwide who require essential neurosurgical care, a field that has emerged and been driven by neurosurgeons in HICs seeking to serve the needs of people in LMICs, resolving a neurosurgical issue in a target LMIC, like patient-specific cranioplasty production, can certainly be partially addressed if through humanitarian efforts and initiatives to solution projects . There is need for intentional collaboration with LMIC care providers, on ground assessment of proposed technologies from structural problems such as poverty, socio-economic inequality, political instability, and lack of access to education or basic health services. Persistence of these barriers will otherwise limit the success of these undoubtedly genuine innovations.

Brain Tumor Programs in Asia and Africa: Current Status, Challenges, and Future Perspectives


Objective: To assess the status of brain tumor programs in Asia and Africa and propose comprehensive evidence-based short- and long-term measures for improving the existing systems.

Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted in June 2022 by the Asia-Africa Neurosurgery Collaborative. A 27-item questionnaire was designed and distributed to gain insight into the status and future directions of brain tumor programs in Asia and Africa. Six components of brain tumor programs were identified-surgery, oncology, neuropathology, research, training, and finances-and assigned scores of 0-14. The total scores allowed subclassification of each country into levels of brain tumor program from I to VI.

Results: A total of 110 responses from 92 countries were received. These were subdivided into 3 groups: group 1, countries with response from neurosurgeons (73 countries); group 2, countries with no neurosurgeons (19 countries); and group 3, countries without a neurosurgeon response (16 countries). The components associated with the highest level of brain tumor program were surgery, neuropathology, and oncology. Most countries in both continents had level III brain tumor programs with a mean surgical score of 2.24. The major lag between each group was with respect to the advances in neuropathology and financial support.

Conclusions: There is an urgent need to improve and develop existing and nonexistent neuro-oncology infrastructure, personnel, and logistics in countries across the continents, especially for the countries with no neurosurgeons.

Historical determinants of neurosurgical inequities in Africa and the African diaspora: A review and analysis of coloniality.


The movement to decolonize global health challenges clinicians and researchers of sub-disciplines, like global neurosurgery, to redefine their field. As an era of racial reckoning recentres the colonial roots of modern health disparities, reviewing the historical determinants of these disparities can constructively inform decolonization. This article presents a review and analysis of the historical determinants of neurosurgical inequities as understood by a group of scholars who share Sub-Saharan African descent. Vignettes profiling the colonial histories of Cape Verde, Rwanda, Cameroon, Ghana, Brazil, and Haiti illustrate the role of the colonial legacy in the currently unmet need for neurosurgical care in each of these nations. Following this review, a bibliographic lexical analysis of relevant terms then introduces a discussion of converging historical themes, and practical suggestions for transforming global neurosurgery through the decolonial humanism promulgated by anti-racist practices and the dialogic frameworks of conscientization.


Here, we evaluate the evolution and growth of global neurosurgery publications over time, further focusing on the contributions and impact of authors in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).


In this systematic bibliometrics analysis, we conducted a two-stage blinded screening process of global neurosurgery publications from 5 databases from inception through July 2021. Articles involving multi-national/multi-institutional research collaborations, detailing any area of global neurosurgery collaboration, or influencing global neurosurgery practice were included. Statistical hypothesis testing was conducted to analyze trends and hypotheses of LMIC authorship contributions.


The number of global neurosurgery publications has soared in the last decade. Overall, authors from HIC countries were most commonly from the US (41.1%), Canada (4.0%), and the UK (3.9%), while authors from LMIC countries were most commonly from Uganda (4.2%), Tanzania (2.6%), Cameroon (1.8%), and India (1.8%). Over a quarter (28%) of publications had no LMIC authors, while only 11% had 3 or more LMIC authors. The proportion of LMIC authors (LMIC-R) was not correlated with the citation rate of individual articles or with the year of publication, and a positive trend emerged when the LMIC-R of top-publishing LMICs was individually examined and compared to the year of publication.


Despite recent growth, the number of global neurosurgery publications arising from LMICs pales in comparison to those from HICs. Collaborative efforts between certain HICs and LMICs have likely contributed to the observed increase in LMIC author independence over time.

Different Approaches in Skull Base Surgery Carry Risks for Different Types of Complications.


Complications are not uncommon in the complex field of skull base surgery. The intrinsic relationship of lesions in this region to important neurovascular structures, dura mater, and bone may lead to significant morbidity and mortality. The evolution of endoscopic endonasal surgery has had a significant impact on this field as a less invasive option for treatment of selected lesions, but major morbidity may still occur; moreover, endoscopic approaches have been associated with higher rates of some specific complications, such as cerebrospinal fluid leaks. Based on a presented case report, the authors discuss the management of various complications associated with different approaches for resection of skull base malignancies, including epidural and intradural pneumocephalus, subdural hematoma, and subdural empyema. Important lessons learned by the senior author throughout more than 30 years of his skull base surgery practice are highlighted. The inherent risk of complications in skull base surgery emphasizes the importance of their avoidance, prevention, and learning from one’s unfavorable experience so as not to repeat them.

Keywords: Complication; Endoscopic approaches; Neurosurgery; Pneumocephalus; Skull base surgery; Subdural empyema; Subdural hematoma.

Adult brain tumors in Sub-Saharan Africa: A scoping review.


Background: Sub-Saharan African (SSA) neuro-oncologists report high workloads and challenges in delivering evidence-based care; however, these reports contrast with modeled estimates of adult neuro-oncology disease burden in the region. This scoping review aimed to better understand the reasons for this discrepancy by mapping out the SSA adult brain tumor landscape based on published literature.

Methods: Systematic searches were conducted in OVID Medline, Global Index Medicus, African Journals Online, Google Scholar, and faculty of medicine libraries from database inception to May 31, 2021. The results were summarized quantitatively and narratively. English and French peer-reviewed articles were included (title, abstract, and full text).

Results: Of the 819 records identified, 119 articles by 24 SSA countries (42.9%) were included in the final review. Odeku published the first article in 1967, and nine of the ten most prolific years were in the 21st century. The greatest contributing region was Western Africa (n = 58, 48.7%) led by Nigeria (n = 37, 31.1%). Central Africa had fewer articles published later than the other SSA regions (P = .61). Most studies were nonrandomized (n = 75, 63.0%) and meningiomas (n = 50, 42.0%) were the most common brain tumors reported. Less than 30 studies reported on adjuvant treatment or patient outcomes.

Conclusions: Most publications were hospital-based, and there was significant heterogeneity in the quality of evidence and reporting. This study highlights the need for rapid and sustainable investments and brain tumor research capacity in SSA.

Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa; epidemiology; global neurosurgery; neuro-oncology; scoping review.

State of African Neurosurgical Education: An Analysis of Publicly Available Curricula.


Background: Africa bears more than 15% of the global burden of neurosurgical disease; however, it has the lowest neurosurgical workforce density worldwide. The past decade has seen an increase in neurosurgery residency programs on the continent. It is unclear how these residency programs are similar or viable. This study highlights the current status and interdepartmental and regional differences, with the main objective of offering a template for improving the provision of neurosurgical education on the continent.

Methods: PubMed and Google Scholar were searched using keywords related to “neurosurgery,” “training,” and “Africa” from database inception to October 13, 2021. The residency curricula were analyzed using a standardized and validated medical education curriculum viability tool.

Results: Curricula from 14 African countries were identified. The curricula differed in resident recruitment, evaluation mode and frequency, curriculum content, and length of training. The length of training varied from 4 to 8 years, with a mean of 6 years. The Eastern African region had the highest number of examinations, with a mean of 8.5. Few curricula had correlates of viability: ensuring that the instructors are competent (64.3%), prioritization of faculty development (64.3%), faculty participation in decision making (64.3%), prioritization of resident support services (50%), creating a conducive environment for quality education (42.9%), and addressing student complaints (28.6%).

Conclusions: There are significant differences in the African postgraduate neurosurgical education curriculum warranting standardization. This study identifies areas of improvement for neurosurgical education in Africa.

Keywords: Africa; Curriculum; Education; Neurosurgery; Residency.

Neurotrauma clinicians' perspectives on the contextual challenges associated with traumatic brain injury follow up in low-income and middle-income countries: A reflexive thematic analysis.


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major global health issue, but low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face the greatest burden. Significant differences in neurotrauma outcomes are recognised between LMICs and high-income countries. However, outcome data is not consistently nor reliably recorded in either setting, thus the true burden of TBI cannot be accurately quantified.

Objective: To explore the specific contextual challenges of, and possible solutions to improve, long-term follow-up following TBI in low-resource settings.

Methods: A cross-sectional, pragmatic qualitative study, that considered knowledge subjective and reality multiple (i.e. situated within the naturalistic paradigm). Data collection utilised semi-structured interviews, by videoconference and asynchronous e-mail. Data were analysed using Braun and Clarke’s six-stage Reflexive Thematic Analysis.

Results: 18 neurosurgeons from 13 countries participated in this study, and data analysis gave rise to five themes: Clinical Context: What must we understand?; Perspectives and Definitions: What are we talking about?; Ownership and Beneficiaries: Why do we do it?; Lost to Follow-up: Who misses out and why?; Processes and Procedures: What do we do, or what might we do?

Conclusion: The collection of long-term outcome data plays an imperative role in reducing the global burden of neurotrauma. Therefore, this was an exploratory study that examined the contextual challenges associated with long-term follow-up in LMICs. Where technology can contribute to improved neurotrauma surveillance and remote assessment, these must be implemented in a manner that improves patient outcomes, reduces clinical burden on physicians, and does not surpass the comprehension, capabilities, or financial means of the end user. Future research is recommended to investigate patient and family perspectives, the impact on clinical care teams, and the full economic implications of new technologies for follow-up.

Unusual intracranial suppuration: illustrative cases.


Background: Intracranial suppuration (ICS) is a rare complication that can arise from various disease processes and is composed of brain abscess, extradural empyema, and subdural empyema. Although significant progress has been achieved with antibiotics, neuroimaging, and neurosurgical technique, ICS remains a serious neurosurgical emergency. An uncommon presentation of ICS is sterile ICS, which has yet to be fully elucidated by clinicians. The authors present 2 cases of unusual sterile ICS: a sterile subdural empyema and a sterile brain abscess.

Observations: Both patients underwent surgical treatment consisting of craniotomy to evacuate the pus collection. The blood cultures from both the patients, the collected empyema, and the thick capsule from the brain abscess were sterile. However, the necrotic brain tissue surrounding the abscess contained inflammatory cells. The authors’ review of the literature emphasizes the rarity of sterile ICS and substantiates the necessity for additional studies to explore this field.

Lessons: Sterile ICS is a disease entity that warrants further investigation to determine appropriate treatment to improve patient outcomes. This study highlights the paucity of data available regarding sterile ICS and supports the need for future studies to uncover the etiology of sterile ICS to better guide management of this condition.

Keywords: BA = brain abscess; CRP = C-reactive protein; CT = computed tomography; GCS = Glasgow Coma Scale; HIV = human immunodeficiency virus; ICP = intracranial pressure; ICS = intracranial suppuration; MRI = magnetic resonance imaging; SDE = subdural empyema; brain abscess; intracranial suppuration; sterile intracranial suppuration; subdural empyema.

Emphasizing the Role of Neurosurgery Within Global Health and National Health Systems: A Call to Action.


Background: Worldwide, neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years lost and the second leading cause of death. Despite global health capacity-building efforts, each year, 22.6 million individuals worldwide require neurosurgeon’s care due to diseases such as traumatic brain injury and hydrocephalus, and 13.8 million of these individuals require surgery. It is clear that neurosurgical care is indispensable in both national and international public health discussions. This study highlights the role neurosurgeons can play in supporting the global health agenda, national surgical plans, and health strengthening systems (HSS) interventions.
Methods:Guided by a literature review, the authors discuss key topics such as the global burden of neurosurgical diseases, the current state of neurosurgical care around the world and the inherent benefits of strong neurosurgical capability for health systems.

Results: Neurosurgical diseases make up an important part of the global burden of diseases. Many neurosurgeons possess the sustained passion, resilience, and leadership needed to advocate for improved neurosurgical care worldwide. Neurosurgical care has been linked to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), thus highlighting the tremendous impact neurosurgeons can have upon HSS initiatives.

Conclusion: We recommend policymakers and global health actors to: (i) increase the involvement of neurosurgeons within the global health dialogue; (ii) involve neurosurgeons in the national surgical system strengthening process; (iii) integrate neurosurgical care within the global surgery movement; and (iv) promote the training and education of neurosurgeons, especially those residing in Low-and middle-income countries, in the field of global public health.

Keywords: NSOAP; UHC; global neurosurgery; global surgery; health system; surgical system.

The landscape of neuro-oncology in East Africa: a review of published records.


Introduction: Primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors represent an important and growing cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality. There are global variations in the reported case burden of CNS tumors, with high-income countries reporting a higher incidence of cases than low- and middle-income countries. Variations are attributed to differences in access to care, diagnostic capacity, risk exposure, and under-reporting in LMICs. This study aims to review existing literature on the distribution of primary CNS tumors and neuro-oncologic care, and the contribution of scientists and institutions to neuro-oncologic research across 18 East African countries over the last 5 decades.

Method: A search was conducted using OVID Medline and PubMed databases to identify relevant East African neuro-oncologic studies published over the last 50 years.

Results: The authors reviewed 36 neuro-oncology articles published across 8 of 18 East African countries. Kenya represented the highest number of published articles; ten countries queried yielded zero publications. A total of 2006 cases from all age groups were represented in published literature consisting of a wide spectrum of CNS tumors. One-third of reported cases were pediatric. Meningioma formed the largest proportion (43.3%) followed by glioma (33.7%). Sixty-seven percent of publications gave an overview of clinical care received by patients with most patients not receiving comprehensive neuro-oncologic care.

Conclusion: The modest collection of neuro-oncology publications from East Africa shows that the case diversity of primary CNS tumors in East Africa is comparable to the rest of the world. There is, however, poorer access to neurosurgical care and adjuvant therapy. Multidisciplinary efforts from clinicians, researchers, and healthcare agencies are needed to quantify and address the requisite neuro-oncology needs in this region.

Keywords: Adjuvant therapy; CNS tumors; Low- and middle-income countries; Neuro-oncology; Research.

Neurosurgeons' experiences of conducting and disseminating clinical research in low-income and middle-income countries: a reflexive thematic analysis.


Objectives: Low-income and-middle-income countries (LMICs) are increasing investment in research and development, yet there remains a paucity of neurotrauma research published by those in LMICs. The aim of this study was to understand neurosurgeons’ experiences of, aspirations for, and ability to conduct and disseminate clinical research in LMICs.

Design: This was a two-stage inductive qualitative study situated within the naturalistic paradigm. This study committed to an interpretivist way of knowing (epistemology), and considered reality subjective and multiple (ontology). Data collection used online methods and included a web-based survey tool for demographic data, an asynchronous online focus group and follow-up semistructured interviews. Data were analysed using Braun and Clarke’s Reflexive Thematic Analysis supported by NVivo V.12.

Setting: LMICs.

Participants: In April-July 2020, 26 neurosurgeons from 11 LMICs participated in this study (n=24 in the focus groups, n=20 in follow-up interviews).

Results: The analysis gave rise to five themes: The local landscape; creating capacity; reach and impact; collaborative inquiry; growth and sustainability. Each theme contained an inhibitor and stimulus to neurosurgeons conducting and disseminating clinical research, interpreted as ‘the neurosurgical research potential in LMICs’. Mentorship, education, infrastructure, impact and engagement were identified as specific accelerators. Whereas lack of generalisability, absence of dissemination and dissemination without peer review may desensitise the impact of research conducted by neurosurgeons.

Conclusion: The geographical, political and population complexities make research endeavour challenging for neurosurgeons in LMICs. Yet in spite of, and because of, these complexities LMICs provide rich opportunities to advance global neurosurgery. More studies are required to evaluate the specific effects of accelerators of research conducted by neurosurgeons and to understand the effects of desensitisers on high-quality, high-impact clinical research.

Keywords: neurological injury; neurosurgery; qualitative research.

State of Neurosurgical Education in Africa: A Narrative Review.


Background: There is no comprehensive report of neurosurgery postgraduate education in Africa. This narrative review aimed to map out the landscape of neurosurgery training in Africa and highlight similarities and differences in training.

Methods: The keywords “neurosurgery,” “education,” and “Africa” were searched on PubMed and Google Scholar from inception to January 17, 2021. Next, a complementary hand search was conducted on Google using the keywords “neurosurgery,” “residency,” and the individual African countries in English and official languages. The relevant data were extracted and compiled into a narrative review.

Results: A total of 76 African training programs that recruit more than 168 trainees each year were identified. Less than half (40.7%, n = 22) of African countries have at least 1 neurosurgery training program. Egypt (n = 15), Algeria (n = 14), and Nigeria (n = 10) have the highest number of training programs, whereas Algeria (0.33), Egypt (0.15), and Libya (0.15) have the highest number of training programs per 1 million inhabitants. The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa has 16 programs in 8 countries, whereas the West African College of Surgeons has 17 accredited programs in 3 countries. The duration of training varies between 4 and 8 years. There is limited information available in the public domain and academic literature about subspecialty fellowships in Africa.

Conclusions: This review provides prospective applicants and African and global neurosurgery stakeholders with information to advocate for increased investment in African neurosurgery training programs.

Keywords: Africa; Education; Fellowship; Neurosurgery; Residency.



Decompressive craniotomy: an international survey of practice.


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke have devastating consequences and are major global public health issues. For patients that require a cerebral decompression after suffering a TBI or stroke, a decompressive craniectomy (DC) is the most commonly performed operation. However, retrospective non-randomized studies suggest that a decompressive craniotomy (DCO; also known as hinge or floating craniotomy), where a bone flap is replaced but not rigidly fixed, has comparable outcomes to DC. The primary aim of this project was to understand the current extent of usage of DC and DCO for TBI and stroke worldwide.

Method: A questionnaire was designed and disseminated globally via emailing lists and social media to practicing neurosurgeons between June and November 2019.

Results: We received 208 responses from 60 countries [40 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)]. DC is used more frequently than DCO, however, about one-quarter of respondents are using a DCO in more than 25% of their patients. The three top indications for a DCO were an acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) and a GCS of 9-12, ASDH with contusions and a GCS of 3-8, and ASDH with contusions and a GCS of 9-12. There were 8 DCO techniques used with the majority (60/125) loosely tying sutures to the bone flap. The majority (82%) stated that they were interested in collaborating on a randomized trial of DCO vs. DC.

Conclusion: Our results show that DCO is a procedure carried out for TBI and stroke, especially in LMICs, and most commonly for an ASDH. The majority of the respondents were interested in collaborating on a is a future randomized trial.

Keywords: Decompressive craniectomy; Decompressive craniotomy; Floating craniotomy; Hinge craniotomy; Neurosurgery; Stroke; Traumatic brain injury.

Neurotrauma clinicians' perspectives on the contextual challenges associated with long-term follow-up following traumatic brain injury in low-income and middle-income countries: a qualitative study protocol.


Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global public health concern; however, low/middle-income countries (LMICs) face the greatest burden. The WHO recognises the significant differences between patient outcomes following injuries in high-income countries versus those in LMICs. Outcome data are not reliably recorded in LMICs and despite improved injury surveillance data, data on disability and long-term functional outcomes remain poorly recorded. Therefore, the full picture of outcome post-TBI in LMICs is largely unknown.
Methods and analysis: This is a cross-sectional pragmatic qualitative study using individual semistructured interviews with clinicians who have experience of neurotrauma in LMICs. The aim of this study is to understand the contextual challenges associated with long-term follow-up of patients following TBI in LMICs. For the purpose of the study, we define ‘long-term’ as any data collected following discharge from hospital. We aim to conduct individual semistructured interviews with 24-48 neurosurgeons, beginning February 2020. Interviews will be recorded and transcribed verbatim. A reflexive thematic analysis will be conducted supported by NVivo software.
Ethics and dissemination: The University of Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee approved this study in February 2020. Ethical issues within this study include consent, confidentiality and anonymity, and data protection. Participants will provide informed consent and their contributions will be kept confidential. Participants will be free to withdraw at any time without penalty; however, their interview data can only be withdrawn up to 1 week after data collection. Findings generated from the study will be shared with relevant stakeholders such as the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies and disseminated in conference presentations and journal publications.
Keywords: neurological injury; neurosurgery; qualitative research.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

History of African women in neurosurgery.


The number of women in the medical field has increased in Africa over the last few decades, yet the underrepresentation of women within neurosurgery has been a recurrent theme. Of all surgical disciplines, neurosurgery is among the least equitable, and the rate of increase in female surgeons lags behind other surgical disciplines such as general surgery. This historical review provides an overview of the history of women in neurosurgery and their current status on the African continent. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first article to provide such an overview.
Keywords: Africa; gender; history; pioneers; representation; women in neurosurgery.

Investing in the future: a call for strategies to empower and expand representation of women in neurosurgery worldwide.


As progress is gradually being made toward increased representation and retention of women in neurosurgery, the neurosurgical community should elevate effective efforts that may be driving positive change. Here, the authors describe explicit efforts by the neurosurgery community to empower and expand representation of women in neurosurgery, among which they identified four themes: 1) formal mentorship channels; 2) scholarships and awards; 3) training and exposure opportunities; and 4) infrastructural approaches. Ultimately, a data-driven approach is needed to improve representation and empowerment of women in neurosurgery and to best direct the neurosurgical community’s efforts across the globe.
Keywords: female representation; mentorship; scholarship; training; women in neurosurgery.

Women in Neurosurgery (WIN): Barriers to Progress, World WIN Directory and the Way Forward.


Women in Neurosurgery (WIN) have come a long way and are making inroads in every neurosurgical subspecialty. There has been a worldwide increase in the number of female neurosurgeons both in the training and practice. Although this is a welcome trend, gender equality at work in terms of opportunities, promotions, and pay scales are yet to be attained. This is more apparent in the developing and underdeveloped nations. Barriers for a female neurosurgeon exist in every phase before entering residency, during training, and at workplace. In the neurosurgical specialty, only a few women are in chief academic and leadership positions, and this situation needs to improve. WIN should be motivated to pursue fellowships, sub-specialty training, research, and academic activities. Furthermore, men should come forward to mentor women, only then the gender debates will disappear and true excellence in neurosurgery can be attained. This article reviews the issues that are relevant in the present era focusing on the barriers faced by female neurosurgeons in the developing and underdeveloped countries and the possible solutions to achieve gender equality in neurosurgery. The authors also present the data from the World WIN Directory collected as a part of Asian Congress of Neurological Surgeons-WINS project 2019. These numbers are expected to grow as the WIN progress and add value to the neurosurgical community at large.
Keywords: Barriers; female neurosurgeons; gender equality; leadership; mentoring; work-life balance; world WIN directory.
Copyright: © 2020 Asian Journal of Neurosurgery.

The World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Young Neurosurgeons Survey (Part I): Demographics, Resources, and Education.


Background: Providing a comprehensive and effective neurosurgical service requires adequate numbers of well-trained, resourced, and motivated neurosurgeons. The survey aims to better understand 1) the demographics of young neurosurgeons worldwide; 2) the challenges in training and resources that they face; 3) perceived barriers; and 4) needs for development.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which a widely disseminated online survey (April 2018-November 2019) was used to procure a nonprobabilistic sample from current neurosurgical trainees and those within 10 years of training. Data were grouped by World Bank income classifications and analyzed using χ2 tests because of its categorical nature.
Results: There were 1294 respondents, with 953 completed responses included in the analysis. Of respondents, 45.2% were from high-income countries (HICs), 23.2% from upper-middle-income countries, 26.8% lower-middle-income countries, and 4.1% from low-income countries. Most respondents (79.8%) were male, a figure more pronounced in lower-income groups. Neuro-oncology was the most popular in HICs and spinal surgery in all other groups. Although access to computed tomography scanning was near universal (98.64%), magnetic resonance imaging access decreased to 66.67% in low-income countries, compared with 98.61% in HICs. Similar patterns were noted with access to operating microscopes, image guidance systems, and high-speed drills. Of respondents, 71.4% had dedicated time for neurosurgical education.
Conclusions: These data confirm and quantify disparities in the equipment and training opportunities among young neurosurgeons practicing in different income groups. We hope that this study will act as a guide to further understand these differences and target resources to remedy them.
Keywords: CT, Computed tomography; Demographics; Education; Global health; Global neurosurgery; HICs, High-income countries; ICU, Intensive care unit; LICs, Low-income countries; LMICs, Low-middle-income countries; MRI, Magnetic resonance imaging; Neurosurgery; Resources; Training; UMICs, Upper-middle-income countries; aSAH, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s).

The World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Young Neurosurgeons Survey (Part II): Barriers to Professional Development and Service Delivery in Neurosurgery.


Background: Strengthening health systems requires attention to workforce, training needs, and barriers to service delivery. The World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Young Neurosurgeons Committee survey sought to identify challenges for residents, fellows, and consultants within 10 years of training.
Methods: An online survey was distributed to various neurosurgical societies, personal contacts, and social media platforms (April-November 2018). Responses were grouped by World Bank income classification into high-income countries (HICs), upper middle-income countries (UMICs), low-middle-income countries (LMICs), and low-income countries (LICs). Descriptive statistical analysis was performed.
Results: In total, 953 individuals completed the survey. For service delivery, the limited number of trained neurosurgeons was seen as a barrier for 12.5%, 29.8%, 69.2%, and 23.9% of respondents from HICs, UMICs, LMICs, and LICs, respectively (P < 0.0001). The most reported personal challenge was the lack of opportunities for research (HICs, 34.6%; UMICs, 57.5%; LMICs, 61.6%; and LICs, 61.5%; P = 0.03). Other differences by income class included limited access to advice from experienced/senior colleagues (P < 0.001), neurosurgical journals (P < 0.0001), and textbooks (P = 0.02). Assessing how the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies could best help young neurosurgeons, the most frequent requests (n = 953; 1673 requests) were research (n = 384), education (n = 296), and subspecialty/fellowship training (n = 232). Skills courses and access to cadaver dissection laboratories were also heavily requested. Conclusions: Young neurosurgeons perceived that additional neurosurgeons are needed globally, especially in LICs and LMICs, and primarily requested additional resources for research and subspecialty training. Keywords: 3D, Three-dimensional; Barriers; CT, Computed tomography; Capacity; Global health; Global neurosurgery; HICs, High-income countries; LICs, Low-income countries; LMICs, Low-middle-income countries; MRI, Magnetic resonance imaging; Neurosurgery; QALYs, Quality-adjusted life years; Service delivery; Training; UMICs, Upper-middle-income countries; WFNS, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s).

Neurosurgeons' experiences of conducting and disseminating clinical research in low- and middle-income countries: a qualitative study protocol.


Introduction: Low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) face the greatest burden of neurotrauma. However, most of the research published in scientific journals originates from high-income countries, suggesting those in LMICs are either not engaging in research or are not publishing it. Evidence originating in high-income countries may not be generalisable to LMICs; therefore, it is important to nurture research capacity in LMICs so that a relevant evidence base can be developed. However, little is published about specific challenges or contextual issues relevant to increasing research activity of neurosurgeons in LMICs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to understand neurosurgeons’ experiences of, aspirations for and ability to conduct and disseminate clinical research in LMICs.
Methods and analysis: This is a pragmatic qualitative study situated within the naturalistic paradigm using focus groups and interviews with a purposive sample of neurosurgeons from LMICs. First, we will conduct asynchronous online focus groups with 36 neurosurgeons to broadly explore issues relevant to the study aim. Second, we will select 20 participants for follow-up semistructured interviews to explore concepts in more depth and detail than could be achieved in the focus group. Interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic analysis will be conducted following Braun and Clarke’s six stages and will be supported by NVIVO software.
Ethics and dissemination: The University of Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee reviewed this study and provided a favourable opinion in January 2020 (REF PRE.2020.006). Participants will provide informed consent, be able to withdraw at any time and will have their contributions kept confidential. The findings of the study will be shared with relevant stakeholders and disseminated in conference presentations and journal publications.
Keywords: neurological injury; neurosurgery; qualitative research.
Copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

Global Perspectives on Task Shifting and Task Sharing in Neurosurgery.


Background: Neurosurgical task shifting and task sharing (TS/S), delegating clinical care to non-neurosurgeons, is ongoing in many hospital systems in which neurosurgeons are scarce. Although TS/S can increase access to treatment, it remains highly controversial. This survey investigated perceptions of neurosurgical TS/S to elucidate whether it is a permissible temporary solution to the global workforce deficit.
Methods: The survey was distributed to a convenience sample of individuals providing neurosurgical care. A digital survey link was distributed through electronic mailing lists of continental neurosurgical societies and various collectives, conference announcements, and social media platforms (July 2018-January 2019). Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and univariate regression of Likert Scale scores.
Results: Survey respondents represented 105 of 194 World Health Organization member countries (54.1%; 391 respondents, 162 from high-income countries and 229 from low- and middle-income countries [LMICs]). The most agreed on statement was that task sharing is preferred to task shifting. There was broad consensus that both task shifting and task sharing should require competency-based evaluation, standardized training endorsed by governing organizations, and maintenance of certification. When perspectives were stratified by income class, LMICs were significantly more likely to agree that task shifting is professionally disruptive to traditional training, task sharing should be a priority where human resources are scarce, and to call for additional TS/S regulation, such as certification and formal consultation with a neurosurgeon (in person or electronic/telemedicine).
Conclusions: Both LMIC and high-income countries agreed that task sharing should be prioritized over task shifting and that additional recommendations and regulations could enhance care. These data invite future discussions on policy and training programs.
Keywords: Global health; Global neurosurgery; HIC, High-income country; LMIC; LMIC, Low- and middle-income country; NSOAP, National Surgical Anesthesia and Obstetric Plan; Neurotrauma; TS/S, Task shifting and task sharing; Task sharing; Task shifting; WHO, World Health Organization; Workforce.
Copyright: © 2019 The Authors.

Task-Shifting and Task-Sharing in Neurosurgery: An International Survey of Current Practices in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.


Background: Because nearly 23,000 more neurosurgeons are needed globally to address 5 million essential neurosurgical cases that go untreated each year, there is an increasing interest in task-shifting and task-sharing (TS/S), delegating neurosurgical tasks to nonspecialists, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This global survey aimed to provide a cross-sectional understanding of the prevalence and structure of current neurosurgical TS/S practices in LMICs.
Methods: The survey was distributed to a convenience sample of individuals providing neurosurgical care in LMICs with a Web-based survey link via electronic mailing lists of continental societies and various neurosurgical groups, conference announcements, e-mailing lists, and social media platforms. Country-level data were analyzed by descriptive statistics.
Results: The survey yielded 127 responses from 47 LMICs; 20 countries (42.6%) reported ongoing TS/S. Most TS/S procedures involved emergency interventions, the top 3 being burr holes, craniotomy for hematoma evacuation, and external ventricular drain. Most (65.0%) believed that their Ministry of Health does not endorse TS/S (24.0% unsure), and only 11% believed that TS/S training was structured. There were few opportunities for TS/S providers to continue medical education (11.6%) or maintenance of certification (9.4%, or receive remuneration (4.2%).
Conclusions: TS/S is ongoing in many LMICs without substantial structure or oversight, which is concerning for patient safety. These data invite future clinical outcomes studies to assess effectiveness and discussions on policy recommendations such as standardized curricula, certification protocols, specialist oversight, and referral networks to increase the level of TS/S care and to continue to increase the specialist workforce.
Keywords: Capacity; DRC, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Global health; Global neurosurgery; LMIC; LMIC, Low- and middle-income country; MOH, Ministry of Health; TS/S, Task-shifting and task-sharing; Task-sharing; Task-shifting; Workforce.
Copyright: © 2019 The Authors.

The impact of African-trained neurosurgeons on sub-Saharan Africa.


Objective: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) represents 17% of the world’s land, 14% of the population, and 1% of the gross domestic product. Previous reports have indicated that 81/500 African neurosurgeons (16.2%) worked in SSA-i.e., 1 neurosurgeon per 6 million inhabitants. Over the past decades, efforts have been made to improve neurosurgery availability in SSA. In this study, the authors provide an update by means of the polling of neurosurgeons who trained in North Africa and went back to practice in SSA.
Methods: Neurosurgeons who had full training at the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Rabat Training Center (RTC) over the past 16 years were polled with an 18-question survey focused on demographics, practice/case types, and operating room equipment availability.
Results: Data collected from all 21 (100%) WFNS RTC graduates showed that all neurosurgeons returned to work to SSA in 12 different countries, 90% working in low-income and 10% in lower-middle-income countries, defined by the World Bank as a Gross National Income per capita of ≤ US$995 and US$996-$3895, respectively. The cumulative population in the geographical areas in which they practice is 267 million, with a total of 102 neurosurgeons reported, resulting in 1 neurosurgeon per 2.62 million inhabitants. Upon return to SSA, WFNS RTC graduates were employed in public/private hospitals (62%), military hospitals (14.3%), academic centers (14.3%), and private practice (9.5%). The majority reported an even split between spine and cranial and between trauma and elective; 71% performed between 50 and more than 100 neurosurgical procedures/year. Equipment available varied across the cohort. A CT scanner was available to 86%, MRI to 38%, surgical microscope to 33%, endoscope to 19.1%, and neuronavigation to 0%. Three (14.3%) neurosurgeons had access to none of the above.
Conclusions: Neurosurgery availability in SSA has significantly improved over the past decade thanks to the dedication of senior African neurosurgeons, organizations, and volunteers who believed in forming the new neurosurgery generation in the same continent where they practice. Challenges include limited resources and the need to continue expanding efforts in local neurosurgery training and continuing medical education. Focus on affordable and low-maintenance technology is needed.
Keywords: CME = continuing medical education; DRC = Democratic Republic of Congo; GNI = Gross National Income; LMIC; LMIC = low- and middle-income countries; RTC = Rabat Training Center; SSA = sub-Saharan Africa; WFNS = World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies; global neurosurgery; low- and middle-income countries; neurosurgery training; sub-Saharan Africa.
Copyright: © 2019 The Authors.

Rare case of giant pediatric cavernous angioma of the temporal lobe: A case report and review of the literature.


Background: Giant cavernous malformations of the central nervous system are quite rare. They are more common in children and may be misdiagnosed as other intracranial neoplasms. Here, we presented a very rare giant cavernous angioma mimicking a neoplastic temporal lobe lesion in an 18-month-old male.
Case description: An 18-month-old male presented with two initial seizures. Although the clinical examination was normal, the computed tomography (CT) scan showed a large left temporal mass (66 mm diameter) exerting significant mass effect and midline shift. The brain magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated a large left temporal heterogeneously enhancing lesion with significant perilesional edema and mass effect. The patient underwent gross total removal of the lesion that proved to be an intracranial cavernous angioma. Postoperatively, he did well, exhibiting no residual neurological deficit, and has remained lesion and seizure-free.
Conclusion: This and 12 other cases in the literature focus on intracranial cavernous angiomas that could have been readily misdiagnosed as tumors. It confirms why obtaining appropriate preoperative MR and CT studies, followed by surgical intervention, is essential to confirm the correct underlying pathology and appropriately and optimally treat the patient.
Keywords: Cavernomas; Cavernous angioma; Giant cavernous malformation; Pediatric patients.
Copyright: © 2020 Surgical Neurology International.

Perspectives on surgical oncology in Africa.

Global Health is an important issue for strengthening health systems and achieving universal health coverage. As part of this effort, cancer care is quickly becoming one of the key components.

Management of Giant Pituitary Adenomas: Role and Outcome of the Endoscopic Endonasal Surgical Approach.

Giant adenomas represent a significant surgical challenge. Although traditionally several transcranial and transsphenoidal microscopic approaches have had a central role in their management, in the last 2 decades here have been increasing reports of the endoscopic endonasal approach for giant adenomas, citing its improved resection rates and lower complication profile. However, its role as the preferred approach has not been fully established and there is currently a paucity of evidence-based recommendations available in the literature. This article reviews the current literature and attempts to define the role and outcomes of the endoscopic endonasal surgical approach for giant pituitary adenomas.

Pituitary Apoplexy: Results of Surgical and Conservative Management Clinical Series and Review of the Literature.

Pituitary apoplexy is associated with visual, cranial nerve, and endocrine dysfunction. In this article, the results of surgical and conservative management of pituitary apoplexy in a single center are evaluated and a review of the literature is presented.

A retrospective analysis was made of patients with pituitary apoplexy who underwent surgery or conservative management at our center between January 2007 and June 2017. Surgery was typically selected for patients who presented with acute deterioration of visual status and/or level of consciousness. Patients with no visual field deficit and those who had medical contraindications to undergo a surgical procedure because of previous comorbidities typically had conservative treatment. Baseline characteristics and clinical and radiologic outcomes were reviewed. A review of the literature (1990-2018) was performed according to PRISMA guidelines. Studies comparing the results of conservative and surgical management were identified. Visual, cranial nerve, and endocrine outcomes and tumor recurrence were analyzed.

Forty-nine patients (73.1%) were managed surgically and 18 (26.9%) conservatively. After careful case selection, patients underwent surgical or conservative treatment. Patients who underwent conservative treatment had fewer visual deficits. At diagnosis, visual deficit (38.8% vs. 75.5%; P = 0.008) and cranial nerve palsy (27.7% vs. 51%; P = 0.058) were less common in the conservative group. Conservative and surgical treatments had similar visual and cranial nerve improvement rates (75% vs. 58.3%, P = 0.63 and 75% vs. 69.2%, P = 1.0, respectively). In the conservative group, tumor shrinkage was observed in 76.4% of cases. The systematic review retrieved 11 studies. No significant difference between conservative and surgical treatment for clinical outcomes (visual field recovery, odds ratio [OR], 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72-2.92; cranial nerve recovery, OR, 2.30; 95% CI, 0.93-5.65; and hypopituitarism, OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.64-1.74) or tumor recurrence (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.20-2.34) was observed.

Conclusions: A tailored approach to pituitary apoplexy, one that does not include an absolute need for surgery, is appropriate. Conservative management is appropriate in selected patients presenting without visual deficits.

Expanded Endoscopic Endonasal Approach for Resection of Intradural Chordoma: Surgical and Anatomic Nuances: 2-Dimensional Operative Video.

The expanded endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been growing as a surgical alternative for the treatment of clival chordomas because of their frequent midline location and bone erosion. The endoscopic transclival approach provides with a safer and more direct anatomic route for tumors located predominantly in the midline contributing to minimize postoperative comorbidities. In this video, we demonstrate the step-by-step technique for resection of such challenging clival pathology. This is an operative video of an extended endoscopic resection of a clival chordoma with stepwise description of the surgical technique. We present the case of a 49-yr-old man in whom, incidentally in the context of low testosterone level, a clival lesion with purely midline location with intradural extension into the ventral brainstem and occupation of the left cerebellopontine angle was discovered. The patient was submitted to an expanded endoscopic transclival approach and a macroscopic gross total resection was successfully achieved. The final pathology was compatible with a conventional chordoma. This video details the surgical anatomy of the clival region to facilitate the identification of surgical landmarks and anatomic boundaries with the goal of avoiding injury to the neurovascular structures involved in this approach. Extended endoscopic transclival surgery is a useful and safer option for the management of midline chordomas because it provides with a dissection corridor free of major neurovascular structures. Endoscopic techniques are associated with good outcomes in terms of macroscopic gross total resection and low surgical risks in these selected tumors.

Takeoff of African Neurosurgery and the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies Rabat Training Center Alumni.

The World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Rabat Training Center was established in 2002 following the efforts of Dr. Abdeslam El Khamlichi. This institution has paved the way to guide tremendous change and to improve neurosurgery training in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The center has enabled so far the training of more than 58 neurosurgical candidates, from approximately 18 countries in SSA, including 30 neurosurgeons who are already back in their respective countries, establishing and improving neurosurgical care. It is clear that this is the first successful example of the WFNS in increasing the neurosurgical workforce in SSA by well-trained and competent neurosurgeons. Consequently, this experience is worth depicting. We reviewed the profile of the neurosurgeons trained in this center and shortly summarized their reestablishment in their respective countries and their challenges to provide neurosurgical care in such source-limited countries.

Global neurosurgery: models for international surgical education and collaboration at one university.

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.

Extended Endoscopic Approach for Resection of Craniopharyngiomas.

Extended endoscopic approaches are useful for resection of selected craniopharyngiomas. Midline, extraventricular, and predominantly cystic lesions are good candidates for endoscopic resection. In this video, we demonstrate the endoscopic endonasal resection of a large suprasellar craniopharyngioma and discuss the nuances of the surgical technique.

We report the case of a 56-year-old woman who presented with bitemporal hemianopsia and visual acuity deterioration secondary to a large suprasellar solid-cystic lesion. The patient underwent an extended endoscopic transtuberculum approach for resection of the lesion, which was diagnosed as a papillary craniopharyngioma. This video discusses the anatomy and surgical technique applied for endoscopic resection of such lesions.

Endoscopic endonasal surgery is a useful technique for management of craniopharyngiomas. It is associated with good clinical outcomes in selected cases. Complications, such as postoperative CSF leak, may occur and should be carefully managed. The link to the video can be found at: https://youtu.be/EneOCiQE7yo.

Unusual coexistence of an epidermoid cyst with an atypical meningioma: Case report and review of the literature.

Background: Coexistence of multiple primary intracranial tumors of different cell types has rarely been documented; the association of a meningioma and a glioma has been reported as the most common combination. Hereby, we report an unusual case of a temporal epidermoid cyst coexisting with an atypical meningioma.

Case presentation: A 37-year-old male presented with progressive symptoms of raised intracranial progression with progressive loss of vision without any neurological deficit. On admission, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a right frontal lesion appearing hypointense T1, hyperintense T2 slightly enhanced after gadolinium and a second right temporal, isointense T1, hyperintense T2 non-enhancing lesion. A right frontotemporal craniotomy was performed that revealed two distinct lesions: The whitish temporal lesion with the pearl appearance reminding of an epidermoid cyst, the second lesion was extraaxial fibrous lesion arising from the falx. Pathology confirmed an atypical meningioma WHO Grade II and an epidermoid cyst.

Conclusion: The simultaneous occurrence of primary intracranial tumors of different cell types is rare. Epidermoid cysts are slow-growing lesions believed to arise from inclusion of ectodermal elements during neural tube closure, while meningiomas arise from arachnoidal cells; their association has rarely been reported previously.

Are infundibular dilatations at risk of further transformation? Ten-year progression of a prior documented infundibulum into a saccular aneurysm and rupture: Case report and a review of the literature.

Infundibular dilatations (IFDs) are conical, triangular, or funnel-shaped enlargements at the origin of cerebral arteries, and they are primarily located (7-25%) on the posterior communicating artery (PComA). Progression over time into a saccular aneurysm with a risk of rupture of a previously demonstrated IFD has rarely been reported. We report the case of a 60-year-old female who presented 10 years earlier with a subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by a left internal carotid artery aneurysm rupture. At that time, the carotid angiography showed the left internal carotid artery aneurysm and a right posterior communicating artery infundibular dilatation. Neck clipping for the left internal carotid artery aneurysm was performed and the patient was discharged with no neurological deficit. Ten years later, the patient suffered a second fatal subarachnoid hemorrhage; carotid angiography revealed a right posterior communicating artery aneurysm developed from the previously documented infundibular dilatation with a de novo right anterior choroidal artery aneurysm. This case is another proof of the small but growing number of examples of infundibular transformation over time, as well as their risk of progression into saccular aneurysms and subsequent rupture.

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy: clinical and radiological outcome of surgery on a series of 135 patients who underwent at neurosurgery department of CHU Avicenna.


La myélopathie cervicarthrosique est un syndrome clinique en relation avec la diminution des dimensions du canal rachidien, la cervicarthrose est l’étiologie principale après 50 ans. L’objectif du traitement est de rétablir les dimensions du canal rachidien cervical. Le choix de la technique chirurgicale sera guidé par l’analyse des signes cliniques, imageries, pré opératoire en fonction de laquelle sera pratiquée soit la voie antérieure, postérieure, ou exceptionnellement la voie combinée. Notre étude a pour but dans un premier temps d’évaluer à long terme les résultats cliniques et radiologiques de la chirurgie ensuite répondre à cette préoccupation: La lordose cervicale pré opératoire et postopératoire sont t-elles des facteurs de bon pronostic? Nous rapportons une étude rétrospective entre 2000 et 2013 portant sur 135 patients opérés dans notre formation et remplissant les critères inclusions. La collecte des données s’est faite en s’aidant du dossier médical des patients (échelle d’Association des orthopédistes Japonais), Imagerie (Radio, TDM, IRM), mesure de l’angle de courbure rachidienne en pré et postopératoire, ceci dans le but d’évaluer à long terme les résultats clinique et radiologique de la chirurgie. Ont été inclus dans notre étude 135 patients, 82 Hommes (60%), 53 femmes (40%) avec un âge moyen de 52 ans, ayant consulté pour des motifs divers (Névralgies cervicobrachiales, lourdeur des membres, troubles génito-sphinctériens). Soixante cinq patients (48%) ont bénéficié d’un abord antérieur (dissectomie, cloward, somatotomie médiane), 64 patients (47%) ont été opérés par voie postérieure (laminectomie de 1 à 3 niveaux) et 6 patients (5%) ont bénéficié d’un abord combiné dans un délai moyen de 3 mois devant la persistance des symptômes. Le niveau cervical le plus touché était C5C6 suivie de C4C5. L’évolution globale de nos patients était favorable dans 58% des cas, stationnaire dans 41% des cas et 1% d’aggravation. Soixante patients ayant présentés une amélioration en postopératoire avaient une courbure rachidienne en lordose, contre 17 patients en raideur et aucun patient en cyphose (p < 0.05). En définitive, la myélopathie est une pathologie fréquente dans la pratique neurochirurgicale, le diagnostic s'est beaucoup amélioré grâce à l'avènement de IRM, plusieurs voies d'abords sont utilisées en fonction des données cliniques et d'imageries, l’évolution reste favorable si la prise en charge est précoce avant l'apparition des déformations importantes de l'alignement sagittal du rachis. Keywords: Cervical spondylosis; Myelopathy; cervical lordosis; evolution; surgery.

Unusual cause of non-discogenic sciatica: Foraminal lumbar root schwannoma.


Background: Schwannomas are tumors of peripheral nerves that develop from the nerve sheath. Foraminal schwannomas are rare and account for 1-5% of all spinal schwannomas. The lumbosacral root schwannoma is a rare cause of sciatica and may raise confusion in diagnosis with late discovery of the tumor.
Case description: We report the case of a patient 30 years of age with chronic left sciatica in whom lumbosacral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a tumor involving the S1 nerve root. The excision of the tumor was simple. Histological examination revealed a benign schwannoma. The evolution was favorable postoperative with no neurological deficit, which confirms the good prognosis of this tumor.
Conclusion: Nerve root schwannomas should be considered in the differential diagnosis of sciatica, especially when signs and symptoms of sciatica cannot be simply explained by prolapsed disc syndrome, which can often delay the diagnosis. Through this case presentation, the authors try to discuss the clinical and radiological features of this condition.

Keywords: Disc herniation; nerve root; neurilemmomas; schwannoma; sciatica.

Multiple intracranial meningioma: experience of the neurosurgery serice of Avicenna Hospital Rabat-Salé, about 4 cases and review of the literature.


Les méningiomes intracrâniennes multiples sont définies comme la présence d’au moins deux méningiomes sur des sites intracrâniens différents et ceci en absence de neurofibromatose. C’est une tumeur rare dont la prévalence varie entre 1-10%. Le but de notre travail était de décrire les caractéristiques cliniques, radiologiques, histologiques d’une série de 4 patients porteurs de méningiome multiple et en déduire les facteurs de risques de survenue de cette pathologie. Préciser la qualité d’exérèse chirurgicale de la lésion selon la classification de Simpson. Rapporter les suites postopératoires ainsi que le suivie à long termes des patients afin de préciser leur qualité de vie. Il s’agit d’une étude rétrospective portant sur 4 cas de Méningiomes intracrâniens multiples sur 174 patients opérés pour méningiome au CHU Avicenne entre Janvier 2000 à Décembre 2013. En s’aidant des données cliniques, imageries, chirurgicales, histologiques mentionnée dans le dossier médical de chaque patient. Notre série est constitué de 4 patients (3 femmes pour 1 homme), d’un âge allant de 42-50 ans (moyenne d’âge= 45,5 ans). Nous avons identifié 21 méningiomes (17 en sus tentoriel et 4 en sous tentoriel), aucun cas de décès ni d’infection postopératoire dans notre échantillon. Le pronostic reste bon malgré le nombre de lésion nécessitant parfois plusieurs interventions chirurgicales.

Keywords: multiple meningioma; neurofibromatosis; surgical excision.

Course Co-director Neurosurgery