BY TONY EDIKE
ENUGU – Neurosurgeons at the Memfys International Hospital for Neurosurgery, Enugu, yesterday, raised alarm over the high rate of the hydrocephalus ailment in the country.
The hospital said it had diagnosed more than 700 patients of hydrocephalus (excessive water in the head) since inception in 2002.
Of this number, only about 400 of the patients went for surgery while the remaining could not afford its cost.
Chief Medical Director of Memfys International Hospital for Neurosurgery, Professor Sam Ohaegbulam, said this at a book launch, Devil at Bay, at College of Medicine University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
He lamented that the ailment was prevalent in the last 10 years owing to the presence of better diagnostic facilities.
He said hydrocephalus surgery costs between N150,000 and N300,000 while patients needed at least a million naira to do it abroad.
Ohaegbulam noted that after the surgery, the patients’ medical condition needed frequent monitoring as it required a shunt (tube) implantation, which is prone to complications as infection, blockage and other risk factors. He said that prevention of the ailment was difficult, except the option of early detection to avoid brain damage.
The medical expert explained that Neurosurgery was a situation where the body produced clear colourless fluid, called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that circulates inside and around the brain.
He said: “We produce about 500cc of this fluid daily to continuously replace the one that is absorbed, there is a delicate balance between the rate of production and the rate of absorption, if the balance is upset either by increased production or diminished absorption, an excess of this CSF fluid accumulates in the head, resulting in hydrocephalus (big head).”