Telementoring, Surgery training, Rural surgery, Breast cancer

Telementorship allows an expert surgeon to mentor another surgeon through an advanced procedure from a remote location via 2-way audio-visual communication. The current article was planned to review the existing literature and evaluate the utility of telementorship regarding educating rural surgeons in Pakistan about multidisciplinary breast cancer care. Publications from 2016 to 2020 were searched on PubMed and GoogleScholar and 10 most recent publications were selected. Review of literature revealed that even though telementorship in this context might be comparable to onsite mentorship, multiple concerns need to be addressed before its implementation. These include lack of concrete evidence regarding its effectiveness, legal, security and financial issues. Thus, a pilot project evaluating the efficacy of telementorship needs to be conducted for rural breast surgeons working in Pakistan. If these studies show promise and an affordable, convenient and effective method of telementorship is devised, then it may become the future of breast surgery training in far-flung regions of Pakistan.

Health System Factors That Inuence Treatment Delay in Women With Breast Cancer in Sub-saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

Breast cancer patients in sub-Saharan Africa experience long delays between their first presentation to a health care facility and the start of cancer treatment. The role of the health system in the increasing delay in treatment has not been widely investigated. This review aimed to identify existing information on health system factors that influence treatment delays in women with breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa to contribute to the reorientation of health policies in the region.
PubMed, ScienceDirect, African Journals Online, Mendeley, ResearchGate and Google Scholar were searched to identify relevant studies published between 2010 and July 2020. We performed a qualitative synthesis in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyse (PRISMA) statement. Related health system factors were extracted and classified according to the World Health Organization’s six health system building blocks. The quality of qualitative and quantitative studies was assessed by using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program quality-assessment tool and the National Institute of Health Quality Assessment Tool, respectively. In addition, we used the Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative Research tool to assess the evidence for each qualitative finding.
From 14,184 identified studies, this systematic review included 28 articles. We identified a total of 36 barriers and 8 facilitators that may influence treatment delay in women with breast cancer. The principal health system factors identified were mainly related to human resources and service delivery, particularly difficulty accessing health care, diagnostic errors, poor management, and treatment cost.
The present review shows that treatment delay among women with breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa is influenced by many related health system factors. Policymakers in sub-Saharan Africa need to tackle the financial accessibility to breast cancer treatment by adequate universal health coverage policies and reinforce the clinical competencies for health workers to ensure timely diagnosis and appropriate care for women with breast cancer in this region

The cost of inpatient burn management in Nepal

The management of burns is costly and complex with inpatient burns accounting for a high proportion of the costs associated with burn care. We conducted a study to estimate the cost of inpatient burn management in Nepal. Our objectives were to identify the resource and cost components of the inpatient burn care pathways and to estimate direct and overhead costs in two specialist burn units in tertiary hospitals in Nepal.

We conducted fieldwork at two tertiary hospitals to identify the cost of burns management in a specialist setting. Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) with burn experts; unit cost data was collected from hospital finance departments, laboratories and pharmacies. The study focused on acute inpatient burn cases admitted to specialist burn centres within a hospital-setting.

Experts divided inpatient burn care pathways into three categories: superficial partial-thickness burns (SPT), mixed depth partial-thickness burns (MDPT) and full thickness burns (FT). These pathways were confirmed in the FGDs. A ‘typical’ burns patient was identified for each pathway. Total resource use and total direct costs along with overhead costs were estimated for acute inpatient burn patients. The average per patient pathway costs were estimated at NRs 102,194 (US$ 896.4), NRs 196,666 (US$ 1725), NRs 481,951 (US$ 4,227.6) for SPT, MDPT and FT patients respectively. The largest cost contributors were surgery, dressings and bed charges respectively.

This study is a first step towards a comprehensive estimate of the costs of severe burns in Nepal.

Epidemiological patterns of patients managed for cleft lip and palate during free outreach camps at a peripheral hospital in Kenya

Context: Clefts involving lip and palate are the most common craniofacial anomalies. The prevalence varies widely according to various factors. There is a paucity of epidemiological data on cleft deformities in African populations. Aims: The aim was to determine the epidemiological patterns of patients managed for cleft lip and palate during free outreach camps in Kenya and subsequently compare it with other studies done nationally, regionally, and internationally. Design: Prospective Cohort Study. Subjects and Methods: This was a prospective cohort study. Data were collected during five cleft surgery outreach camps held at Kitale County Referral Hospital in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya, between January 2016 and January 2018. Statistical Analysis Used: The study was statistically analyzed by the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Windows version 21 software for descriptive characteristics. Results: A total of 84 patients were reviewed, of which 74 underwent surgical management. The study population included nine different Counties in Kenya (with one patient from Uganda) and were reported to have traveled between 3 and 450 km. The age range was from 5 weeks to 35 years with patients below 2 years of age making up the majority (58.3%). There was a male preponderance (61.9%). The most common cleft deformities were cleft lip (46.4%), cleft lip and palate (34.6%), and cleft palate (15.5%). Unilateral clefts were commonly left-sided (62%). Sex distribution varied with clinical diagnosis, and familial and syndromic association was rare. Conclusions: More initiative programs are recommended to address the unmet medical and surgical needs of the cleft deformities in various parts of the region.

Protocol for a Systematic Review of Outcomes From Microsurgical Free Tissue Transfer Performed on Short-term Surgical Missions in Low-income and Middle-income Countries

Background: In many units around the world, microsurgical free tissue transfer represents the gold standard for reconstruction of significant soft tissue defects following cancer, trauma or infection. However, many reconstructive units in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) do not yet have access to the resources, infrastructure or training required to perform any microsurgical procedures. Long-term international collaborations have been formed with annual short-term reconstructive missions conducting microsurgery. In the first instance, these provide reconstructive surgery to those who need it. In the longer-term, they offer an opportunity for teaching and the development of sustainable local services.

Methods: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis will be performed. A comprehensive, predetermined search strategy will be applied to the MEDLINE and Embase electronic databases from inception to December 2020. All clinical studies presenting sufficient data on free tissue transfer performed on short-term surgical missions (STSMs) in LMICs will be eligible for inclusion. The primary outcomes are rate of free flap failure, rate of emergency return to theatre for free flap salvage and successful salvage rate. The secondary outcomes include postoperative complications and any functional or patient reported outcome measures. Screening of studies, data extraction and assessments of study quality and bias will be conducted by two authors. Individual study quality will be assessed according to the Oxford Evidence-based Medicine Scales of Evidence 2, and risk of bias using either the ‘Revised Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomized trials’ (Rob2), or the ‘Risk of bias in non-randomized studies of interventions’ (ROBINS-I) tools. Overall strength of evidence will be assessed according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) approach.

Discussion: To-date the outcomes of microsurgical procedures performed on STSMs to LMICs are largely unknown. Improved education, funding and allocation of resources are needed to support surgeons in LMICs to perform free tissue transfer. STSMs provide a vehicle for sustainable collaboration and training. Disseminating microsurgical skills could improve the care received by patients living with reconstructive pathology in LMICs, but this is poorly established. This study sets out a robust protocol for a systematic review designed to critically analyse outcomes.

Organ Donation and Transplantation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities and Challenges

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), occupying about 80% of the African continent is a heterogeneous region with estimated population of 1.1 billion people in 47 countries. Most belong to the low resource countries (LRCs). The high prevalence of end-organ diseases of kidney, liver, lung and heart makes provision of organ donation and transplantation necessary. Although kidney and heart transplantations were performed in South Africa in the 1960s, transplant activity in SSA lags behind the developed world. Peculiar challenges militating against successful development of transplant programmes include high cost of treatment, low GDP of most countries, inadequate infrastructural and institutional support, absence of subsidy, poor knowledge of the disease condition, poor accessibility to health-care facilities, religious and trado-cultural practices. Many people in the region patronize alternative healthcare as first choice. Opportunities that if harnessed may alter the unfavorable landscape are: implementation of the 2007 WHO Regional Consultation recommendations for establishment of national legal framework and self-sufficient organ donation/transplantation in each country and adoption of their 2020 proposed actions for organ/transplantation for member states, national registries with sharing of data with GODT, prevention of transplant commercialization and tourism. Additionally, adapting some aspects of proven successful models in LRCs will improve transplantation programmes in SSA.

Skin substitutes for extensive burn coverage in Togo: A retrospective study

Four children, from 5 to 10 years aged, presented to the Sylvanus Olympio Hospital (SOTH) of Lomé (Togo) with severe (second-and third-degree) burns of 25–78% of total body surface area (TBSA) due to flame in domestic accidents and were treated using skin substitutes.
We conducted skin substitution by dermal templates (Integra®) for two children and by skin allografts for the other two. In the two cases of dermal templates, we performed a wound excision on day 30 in one case, and on day 28 in the other. In one case, we associated the coverage with the dermal template to a negative pressure wound therapy; we applied skin graft on day 18 and day 21. In the follow-up, we observed no complication in both cases.
In one of the two cases of skin allograft, we performed an eschar excision on day 8 and a donor skin allograft. we conducted another excision on day 15 while some parts were covered with skin autograft. The child died ten hours after the last procedure. The second patient had sequential excisions and coverage of some parts with skin allograft, and some others with skin autograft on day 42 In the fourth month, the child was discharged with a wound coverage of 74%, which was completed by another skin graft in the sixth month.
The availability of dermal templates compelled the choice between the two skin substitutes. The access to other grafting options, such as a deceased skin bank, could allow the SOTH surgical team to step forward to the burn care.

A Novel and Simple Technique of Reconstructing the Central Arch Mandibular Defects-a Solution During the Resource-Constrained Setting of COVID Crisis

The current COVID 19 pandemic has a major impact on healthcare delivery globally. Oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible is difficult to reconstruct and ideally, requires free fibular osteomyocutaneous flap. During this time of resource constraint situation, these free flaps are not a great choice, as it increases exposure of both patient and surgical team to the deadly virus. We are describing a novel method of reconstruction after resection of oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible. In this new technique, we have reconstructed central arch defect by hanging bipaddle pectoralis major myocutaneous flap with orbicularis oris muscle using ethylene terephthalate suture. Operative time, early postoperative complications and early cosmetic and functional outcome were assessed. We have used this novel technique in eight patients of T4a oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible and skin over chin. Mean operative time was 180 min. One patient had minor flap loss with surgical site infection (Clavien-Dindo grade I). In all patients, we were able to discharge all patients on eighth postoperative day. Cosmetic outcome and functional outcomes were mostly satisfactory. All patients were able to oppose their lips without any oral incompetence and drooling. Tongue mobility was good. There was no incidence of ‘Andy Gump deformity’. This is a feasible option for reconstructing anterior arch defect in resource- and time-limited setting of COVID 19 pandemic. This technique can also be used in comorbid conditions where it is not advisable to do very long surgery.

The Effectiveness of Burn Scar Contracture Release Surgery in Low- and Middle-income Countries

Worldwide, many scar contracture release surgeries are performed to improve range of motion (ROM) after a burn injury. There is a particular need in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for such procedures. However, well-designed longitudinal studies on this topic are lacking globally. The present study therefore aimed to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of contracture release surgery performed in an LMIC.

This pre-/postintervention study was conducted in a rural regional referral hospital in Tanzania. All patients undergoing contracture release surgery during surgical missions were eligible. ROM data were indexed to normal values to compare various joints. Surgery was considered effective if the ROM of all planes of motion of a single joint increased at least 25% postoperatively or if the ROM reached 100% of normal ROM. Follow-ups were at discharge and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively.

A total of 70 joints of 44 patients were included. Follow-up rate at 12 months was 86%. Contracture release surgery was effective in 79% of the joints (P < 0.001) and resulted in a mean ROM improvement from 32% to 90% of the normal value (P < 0.001). A predictive factor for a quicker rehabilitation was lower age (R2 = 11%, P = 0.001). Complication rate was 52%, consisting of mostly minor complications. Conclusions: This is the first study to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of contracture release surgery in an LMIC. The follow-up rate was high and showed that contracture release surgery is safe, effective, and sustainable. We call for the implementation of outcome research in future surgical missions.

The Millennial Generation Plastic Surgery Trainees in sub-Saharan Africa and Social Media: A Review of the Application of Blogs, Podcasts, and Twitter as Web-Based Learning Tools

The delivery of education and training in plastic surgery in Sub-Saharan Africa face increasing challenges. These include endemic shortages of plastic surgeons within postgraduate medical school faculties, the erosion of financial and clinical resources for teaching, and more recently, the millennial generation paradigm shift. It is generally accepted that the millennial generation will be more discerning and comfortable in their requirements for web-based learning content to support their education and training in plastic surgery. We reviewed current literature including original and review articles obtained through a search of PubMed database, Medline, Google Scholar, and hand searching of bibliographies of published articles using the keywords: social media, Blogs, Twitter, plastic surgery, and millennial generation. This article defines and explores Blogs, Podcasts, and Twitter, as web-based learning tools, and discusses how to leverage social media to maximize their educational value and effectiveness.