Establishing collaborations in global neurosurgery: The role of InterSurgeon

The global deficiency in surgical care has been highlighted in the past several years, through the publication of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery in 2015, the passage of WHA Resolution 68.15, and concerted efforts by advocacy organizations such as the G4 Alliance. Approximately 23,300 additional neurosurgeons are estimated to be needed to address the greater than 5 million essential neurosurgical cases that are not performed annually, most in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

However, increasing recognition of the ease and feasibility of virtual technology prompted a shift towards virtual modes of communication. InterSurgeon (https://www.intersurgeon.org/), an independent, internet-based social network platform, has allowed for formal connection between global surgery advocates who may have complementary needs and resources. This manuscript aims to: 1) characterize the current progress of InterSurgeon, 2) describe lessons learned from the creation and use of InterSurgeon, and 3) discuss future directions for InterSurgeon.

Equitable, well-designed collaborations are central to progress in global neurosurgery. InterSurgeon has catalyzed collaborations within global neurosurgery across world regions and country income status. In addition to its role in facilitating traditional in person collaborations, InterSurgeon will become an increasingly important tool for connecting surgeons worldwide as virtual collaboration and augmented reality training paradigms become important components of global surgery capacity building.

Change in the spectrum of orthopedic trauma: Effects of COVID-19 pandemic in a developing nation during the upsurge; a cross-sectional study

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great impact on orthopedic surgery with a significant curtailment in elective surgeries which is the major bread and butter for orthopedic surgeons. It was also observed that the spectrum of orthopedic trauma injuries has shifted from more severe and frequent road traffic accidents (high energy trauma) to general, low energy house-hold injuries like low energy fractures in the elderly, pediatric fractures, house-hold sharp cut injuries and nail bed lacerations. The aim of this study is to appraise the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on orthopedic surgical practice, both inpatient and outpatient facility.

Materials and methods: This is a retrospective cross sectional study conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital. We collected data of patients admitted from February 1, 2020 to 30th April 2020 in the orthopedic service line using non-probability consecutive sampling. This study population was divided into pre-COVID and COVID eras (6 weeks each). The data included patient demographic parameters like age, gender and site of injury, mechanism of injury, diagnosis and procedure performed and carrying out of COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test in the COVID-era.

Results: We observed that outpatient clinical volume decreased by 75% in COVID era. Fifty percent of surgical procedures decreased in COVID era as compared to pre-COVID era. Trauma procedures reduced by 40% in COVID era. Most common mechanism of injury was household injuries like low energy falls. A significant reduction in elective surgeries by 67% was observed in the COVID era.

Conclusion: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the spectrum of orthopedic injury. More household injuries have occurred and are anticipated due to the ongoing effects of lockdown.

Clubfoot treatment in 2015: a global perspective.

Clubfoot affects around 174 000 children born annually, with approximately 90% of these in low-income and middle-income countries (LMIC). Untreated clubfoot causes life-long impairment, affecting individuals’ ability to walk and participate in society. The minimally invasive Ponseti treatment is highly effective and has grown in acceptance globally. The objective of this cross-sectional study is to quantify the numbers of countries providing services for clubfoot and children accessing these.In 2015-2016, expected cases of clubfoot were calculated for all countries, using an incidence rate of 1.24/1000 births. Informants were sought from all LMIC, and participants completed a standardised survey about services for clubfoot in their countries in 2015. Data collected were analysed using simple numerical analysis, country coverage levels, trends over time and by income group. Qualitative data were analysed thematically.Responses were received from 55 countries, in which 79% of all expected cases of clubfoot were born. More than 24 000 children with clubfoot were enrolled for Ponseti treatment in 2015. Coverage was less than 25% in the majority of countries. There were higher levels of response and coverage within the lowest income country group. 31 countries reported a national programme for clubfoot, with the majority provided through public-private partnerships.This is the first study to describe global provision of, and access to, treatment services for children with clubfoot. The numbers of children accessing Ponseti treatment for clubfoot in LMIC has risen steadily since 2005. However, coverage remains low, and we estimate that less than 15% of children born with clubfoot in LMIC start treatment. More action to promote the rollout of national clubfoot programmes, build capacity for treatment and enable access and adherence to treatment in order to radically increase coverage and effectiveness is essential and urgent in order to prevent permanent disability caused by clubfoot.