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History Made as this African Country Performs First Brain Surgery Without Cutting Skull

A seven-member team of Ghanaian doctors has performed the first-ever brain surgery in the country, without cutting the skull.

The minimally invasive brain surgery is the technique by which health workers safely remove 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.

Technically 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 (junctional area between the abdomen and the thigh on either side of the pubic bone) up into the artery containing the brain aneurysm, a process known as endovascular coiling or coil embolisation.

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The two-hour surgery was performed with modern equipment and computer software at the Euracare Advanced Diagnostic and Heart Centre, a private health facility in Accra.

An interventional radiologist, Dr Benjamin Dabo Sarkodie, who is also the Head of Radiology at Euracare, led the team.

The other doctors were from the Stroke Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Euracare.

Supported by a visiting interventional radiologist, Dr Itsvan Lazar from Hungary, the team performed an emergency minimally invasive surgery in the brain to stop bleeding, a condition medically known as ‘Subarachnoid Hemorrhage’.

That procedure deployed minimises surgical cuts to reduce trauma to the body.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra nearly three weeks after the successful surgery, Dr Sarkodie said the patient, who suffered a condition known as ruptured brain aneurysm, had been discharged days earlier and was currently recuperating.

The condition, which is fatal, affects men and women of all ages.

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