Barriers to neurosurgical care of brain tumors in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review of the service delivery challenges

Document Type



Medical College Pakistan; Neurosurgery


Introduction: Brain tumors pose a major challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) due to limited resources and high costs, resulting in hampered service delivery of neurosurgical care and significant disparities in patient outcomes compared to high-income nations. Therefore, our systematic review aims to identify barriers to service delivery in providing adequate surgical care for the management of brain tumors in LMICs.
Methods: We searched Scopus, PubMed, Google Scholar, and CINAHL, from inception to October 20, 2022. The data from the eligible studies were extracted and analyzed qualitatively
Results: The final analysis included 35 articles, which highlighted significant challenges in providing adequate surgical care for brain tumors in LMICs. Among the cited studies, 10% reported lack of multidisciplinary team structures, 61% noted delayed patient presentation, 16% highlighted delays in neuroimaging, 10% reported delays in scheduling surgery, lack of training for specialized surgery (3%), lack of intra-operative facilities (19%), power supply interruption (6%), and lack of advanced diagnostic and specialized surgery facilities (19%). Strategies for addressing these challenges include cross-border collaboration (7%), public education, and awareness (13%), establishing multidisciplinary teams (20%), utilizing alternative surgical techniques (13%), 7% intraoperative ultrasound, 13% intraoperative cytology smear), and establishing satellite hospitals for low-risk care (7%), standard operating procedure and infection control (13%).
Conclusion: Targeted interventions considering economic constraints are essential to improve the availability, affordability, and quality of neuro-oncologic services in developing countries. International collaborations and building capacity are vital for improving patient outcomes and service delivery, as well as forming multidisciplinary teams and utilizing resource-saving, innovative methods.


Volume, issue and pagination are not provided by author/publisher

Publication (Name of Journal)

World Neurosurgery