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MNH eyes top-notch brain surgery service in Africa

THE Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) is set to commence testing equipment that will be used in performing brain surgery in the country without cutting the skull.

Operating under the technology known as Angiography Suite, the modern equipment, upon passing the test, will simplify brain surgery as surgeons will no longer be compelled to open the human skull.

MOI, Head of Communication Unit, Patrick Mvungi, told the ‘Daily News’ at the ongoing 44th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) that after completion the suite would make Tanzania one of the few countries in Africa that offer such a service.

“A team of technicians from the German Simens company is progressing well with the installation of equipment and within a few days they will start testing them,” he said.

Mr Mvungi said the suite will allow the national hospital to provide superior patient care by improving their ability to visualize and treat the brain with minimally invasive surgical techniques.

The surgeons, he added, are ready to start performing surgical procedures after undergoing special training at Perkins hospital.

“What they are waiting for is the completion of installation of the equipment.”

The cost of such treatment abroad is over 60m/- but once the suite is complete it may not exceed 10m/, Mr Mvungi revealed.

Brain surgery without cutting the skull is a minimally invasive technique by which surgeons safely remove the brain and skull-base tumours through smaller and more precise openings that minimise collateral damage; that is, injury or other damage inflicted on an unintended target such as blood vessels and nerves.

The procedure is known as ‘Endovascular brain aneurysm coiling’ because there is no need to cut into the skull to do the surgery, the technique passes a tube (catheter) through the groin functional area between the abdomen and the thigh on either side of the pubic bone up into the artery containing the brain aneurysm.

Brain aneurysm, also known as a cerebral aneurysm, is a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel inside the brain.

It is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of an artery in the brain, resulting in an abnormal widening, ballooning or blistering.

“Our goal is to maximize treatment or while minimizing disruption to vital neural structures within the brain. This not only avoids complications, but also minimizes the chance of infection, promotes more rapid healing and less painful recovery,” he noted.

Mr Mvungi said the government disbursed 7.9bn/- in May 2019 for setting up the suite.

He noted that the equipment would also be used to provide diagnostic and interventional care to reduce and eliminate leg pain, minimally invasive procedures to improve blood flow and positively affect the quality of life.

In the past four years, bed capacity at MOI has increased to 340 patients in general ward compared to 150 in the previous years when patients were lying on the ground and some were given mattresses to sleep on the stairs.

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