[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Cambodia, spina bifida is rare, but frontoethmoidal meningoencephalocoeles (MECs) are common. Mean life expectancy for patients with congenital MECs may be <20 years, but the complex treatment required has not been available in the country until recently. During visits by combined neurosurgical/craniofacial teams from both Germany and France, a method of repair has been developed that is suitable for the local conditions, affordable and has allowed Cambodian surgeons to learn how to successfully treat MECs. The surgical technique and initial results with 30 patients have been described in a previous publication. This paper presents the outcomes of 128 cases and illustrates that it is cost-effective for these patients to be treated in Cambodia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontoethmoidal meningoencephaloceles (MECs) are a relatively common abnormality in southeast Asia, with disastrous consequences for the sufferer. In Cambodia, a lack of skilled neuro- and craniofacial surgeons, and the cost of surgery limit the possibilities for appropriate treatment of patients with these lesions. The authors developed a low-cost humanitarian program with the goals of treating frontoethmoidal MECs, ensuring careful postoperative follow-up, and teaching Khmer surgeons how to treat these malformations.
This program was facilitated by two nongovernmental organizations: Rose Charities Cambodia provided the facilities, patients, and local staff, and "Médecins du Monde" provided visiting surgeons and anesthesiologists. All operations were free of charge for all patients. A strict follow-up program was organized to evaluate the surgical results, the social impact of the surgery, and the satisfaction levels of the children and their parents.
Forty-five children and seven young adults with MECs were treated using a rather simple surgical technique. Of the three types of MECs encountered, the most frequent was the nasoethmoidal type (43 cases). The most common postoperative issue was a temporary CSF leak (in 16 patients). Cosmetic results were considered excellent or good in 40 patients, average in nine, and poor in one; two patients were lost to follow-up. The overall cost of each operation was estimated to be $380 (US dollars), far less than a standard MEC operation would cost in a more developed country. At the end of this humanitarian program, Khmer surgeons were able to treat standard cases of frontoethmoidal MECs without the help of foreigners.
Patients in developing nations who have limited access to standard neurosurgical care can be treated for frontoethmoidal MECs with few complications and a satisfactory cost-to-benefit ratio.
No preview · Article · Aug 2007 · Journal of Neurosurgery