Transport of patients with giant disfiguring cranial tumors from Africa to the US for collaborative multidisciplinary treatment

Eric Nussbaum, Patrick Graupman, Martin Lacey, Andrew Harrison, Jodi Lowary, Jillienne Touchette, Leslie Nussbaum

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Background: Giant disfiguring cranial tumors are exceptionally rare and develop over the course of many years, typically in patients who lack access to medical care. Here, we describe four patients who were flown to our center for treatment by a multidisciplinary surgical team, who had previously been turned down for treatment at multiple international centers in Africa, Europe, and the United States (US) due to complexity and financial concerns. The case series describes socioeconomic implications and the feasibility of offering such care to patients from outside the US. Case Descriptions: Four patients with giant skull disfiguring tumors were flown internationally and treated by a surgical team consisting of a complex cranial neurosurgeon, a craniofacial reconstructive plastic surgeon, and an oculoplastic surgeon. All patients underwent aggressive surgical therapy with the aim of complete tumor removal and simultaneous cranial reconstruction. A patient with osteogenic sarcoma underwent two additional resections in 3 years, with delayed reconstruction. They returned home but ultimately succumbed to the disease. A patient with ossifying fibroma required two follow-up procedures for cosmetic reconstruction and sought asylum in the US, where they remain today. Two additional patients, one with a giant plexiform neurofibroma and one with a cerebellopontine angle meningioma, achieved good results and returned to Africa 1 month and 3 weeks after surgery, respectively. Conclusion: Resection of giant disfiguring cranial tumors and reconstruction of the impacted region requires an experienced multidisciplinary team. These cases can be managed by transporting such patients from areas without access to medical care to specialized centers able to provide excellent care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - Apr 19 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
is manuscript was supported by a grant from the United Hospital Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Published by Scientific Scholar on behalf of Surgical Neurology International


  • Cranial reconstruction
  • Disfiguring cranial tumors
  • Tumor resection


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