Neurosurgery in Papua New Guinea.

J. V. Rosenfeld, D. A. Watters, O. J. Jacob

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BACKGROUND: An audit of neurosurgery in Papua New Guinea (PNG) based on the experience of a visiting neurosurgeon is presented. The objectives of the study were to determine the type and frequency of neurosurgical conditions in PNG, whether major neurosurgery can be performed successfully in PNG, and to develop a strategy for the development of neurosurgical services in PNG. METHODS: The audit was carried out over two periods of 2 weeks duration in 1992 and 1993 in Port Moresby and Goroka. Instrumentation and equipment were limited and no additional equipment was used. Myelography and angiography were available in Port Moresby. RESULTS: There were 82 patients in total, 55 (67.1%) were consultations, 23 (28%) had elective surgery, four (4.8%) had emergency surgery and 16 (19.5%) await surgery. Cases were subdivided into nine major groupings: neurotrauma 18 (seven severe); spine 18; congenital 13; hydrancephaly four; scalp, skull and orbit six; vascular three; peripheral nerve three; and neurology five. Seventy-two (87.8%) patients required CT/MRI which were unavailable. Four ventriculograms were performed in lieu of CT/MRI. Fifteen (18.3%) cases could not be treated in PNG. CONCLUSIONS: Neurosurgical problems in PNG can often be adequately managed with limited resources. Complex procedures were performed with gratifying results and acceptable morbidity. There is sufficient pathology in a country of four million people to justify training a small number of neurosurgeons by the end of the decade. CT scanning will be a necessary adjunct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

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