Socioeconomic restraints and brain tumor surgery in low-income countries

Healthcare spending has become a grave concern to national budgets worldwide, and to a greater extent in low-income countries. Brain tumors are a serious disease that affects a significant percentage of the population, and thus proper allocation of healthcare provisions for these patients to achieve acceptable outcomes is a must. The authors reviewed patients undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection at their institution for the preceding 3 months. All the methods used for preoperative planning, intraoperative management, and postoperative care of these patients were documented. Compromises to limit spending were made at each stage to limit expenditure, including low-resolution MRI, sparse use of intraoperative monitoring and image guidance, and lack of dedicated postoperative neurocritical ICU. This study included a cohort of 193 patients. The average cost from diagnosis to discharge was $1795 per patient (costs are expressed in USD). On average, there was a mortality rate of 10.5% and a neurological morbidity rate of 14%, of whom only 82.2% improved on discharge or at follow-up. The average length of stay at the hospital for these patients was 9.09 days, with a surgical site infection rate of only 3.5%. The authors believe that despite the great number of financial limitations facing neurosurgical practice in low-income countries, surgery can still be performed with reasonable outcomes.