World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 1248–1253 | Cite as

The Utility of Local Anesthesia for Neurosurgical Interventions in a Low-Resource Setting: A Case Series

  • Jessica Eaton
  • Asma Bilal Hanif
  • Suzgisam Mzumara
  • Anthony CharlesEmail author
Innovative Surgical Techniques Around the World



Trauma is a major contributor to global morbidity and mortality, and injury to the central nervous system is the most common cause of death in these patients. While the provision of surgical services is being recognized as essential to global public health efforts, specialty areas such as neurosurgery remain overlooked.


This is a retrospective case review of patients with operable lesions, such as extra-axial hematomas and unstable depressed skull fractures that underwent neurosurgical interventions under local anesthesia.


A total of 13 patients underwent neurosurgical intervention under local anesthesia. Two and three patients with burr hole decompression of epidural and subdural hematomas, respectively; seven patients had elevation of depressed skull fractures and lastly one patient had an aspiration of a brain abscess. All patients survived with and without residual neurological deficits.


Access to resources and staff required to deliver general anesthesia is challenging in resource-poor settings. We have therefore begun performing emergent interventions under local anesthesia, with or without conscious sedation. While some patients had some minor residual weakness after the procedure, the degree of neurological deficit was improved from that observed before the procedure in all patients.



We are grateful for the support of the Departments of Surgery and Radiology at Kamuzu Central Hospital for their support of this work. We are particularly appreciative of the help of Webster Lungu for his help in obtaining CT images. This work was supported by the Fulbright Program and the National Institutes of Health Office of the Director, Fogarty International Center, Office of AIDS Research, National Cancer Center, National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, and the NIH Office of Research for Women’s Health through the Fogarty Global Health Fellows Program Consortium comprised of the University of North Carolina, John Hopkins, Morehouse and Tulane (R25TW009340).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Eaton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Asma Bilal Hanif
    • 3
  • Suzgisam Mzumara
    • 4
  • Anthony Charles
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.UNC –Project MalawiLilongweMalawi
  2. 2.University of Louisville School of MedicineLouisvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryKamuzu Central HospitalLilongweMalawi
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyKamuzu Central HospitalLilongweMalawi
  5. 5.Department of SurgeryUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  6. 6.UNC School of Medicine, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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