Craniotomy cost in South Africa

Craniotomy is a preliminary surgical procedure necessarily performed to access the brain and proceed with further operations. It involves the cutting and opening of a portion of the skull in order to have access the brain. It is performed either in case of severe neurological or cerebral anomaly, or in case of traumatic as well as accidental injuries. Craniotomy is also performed to remove lodged foreign objects like iron rods, bullets, nails, etc. 

What is craniotomy?

The surgical removal of a bone flap or a portion of the skull to perform necessary operation on the brain is known as craniotomy. Post-operation, the bone flap is however fixed in position with the help of metal screws. Craniotomy involves carving out minute incisions or burrholes as well as significant incision known as keyholes to carry out necessary functions. The entire procedure is guided by endoscopes, stereostatic framing, as well as computer based imaging that helps the surgeons to:

  • Remove blood clots in case of hemorrhage
  • Draining of excessive Cerebrospinal Fluid
  • Treat brain tumors
  • Relax stressed arteries, veins or nerves
  • Cure an injury
  • Insertion of devices like Intracranial Pressure Monitoring system, Deep Brain Stimutaling devices

Ideal Candidates for Craniotomy surgery 

Evaluation for ideal candidacy for craniotomy surgery is primarily important. The surgeons shall decide an ideal candidate if the individual:

  • Suffers from an advanced stage brain tumor
  • Requires urgent biopsy of an affected brain tissue
  • Suffers from additional intracranial pressure buildup
  • Needs insertion of an artificial device to control brain functioning
  • Has a foreign object lodged in the brain
  • Suffers from hemorrhage 

Factors affecting the cost of craniotomy surgery in India

Craniotomy is mostly performed to treat or remove brain tumors (malignant or benign). An average brain tumor surgery cost may range from $20,000 to $28,000. Apart from tumors, the surgery is performed for a number of other reasons, depending on which, craniotomy cost may range from $8000 to $20000. It may hinge on:

  • Reason for craniotomy surgery
  • Type of craniotomy required 
  • Extent of bone flap removal
  • Extent of post-surgical follow up required
  • Healthcare benefits required
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About the Craniotomy

Craniotomy surgery is one of the most common types of brain surgery conducted to treat a brain tumor. It mainly aims at removing a lesion, tumor, or a blood clot in the brain by opening a flap above the brain to access the targeted area. This flap is removed on a temporary basis and again put in place when the surgery is done. Around 90 percent of the cases of brain tumors are diagnosed in adults aged between 55 and 65. Among children, a brain tumor is diagnosed within an age range of 3 to 12 years.

Craniotomy procedures are conducted with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to reach the location precisely in the brain that requires treatment. A three-dimensional image for the same is achieved of the brain in conjunction with localizing frames and computers to view a tumor properly. A clear distinction is made between abnormal or tumor tissue and normal healthy tissue and to access the exact location of the abnormal tissue.

Who requires a craniotomy?

In a minimally invasive craniotomy procedure, a burr hole or a keyhole may be created to access the brain to fulfill the following purposes:

  • To drain out cerebrospinal fluid in case of hydrocephalus by inserting a shunt into the ventricles
  • To treat Parkinson’s disease by inserting a deep brain stimulator (DBS)
  • To insert an intracranial pressure monitor
  • To conduct needle biopsy, where a small sample of abnormal tissue is removed for study
  • For stereotactic hematoma aspiration, in which a blood clot is drained out
  • For insertion of an endoscope to clip aneurysms and for the removal of small tumors

When there are complex craniotomies involved, the procedure may be referred to as a skull base surgery.  In this kind of surgery, a small portion of the skull is removed from the bottom of the brain. This is the region where delicate arteries, veins, and cranial nerves exit the skull. Complicated planning is done to plan such craniotomies and understand the location of the lesions. This type of approach is usually employed for:

  • The removal or treatment of large brain tumors and aneurysm in the brain
  • Treatment after a skull fracture or major injury like a gunshot
  • The removal of a malignant tumor affecting the bony skull

Primary brain tumors are much less common than secondary brain tumors. Primary ones are found to originate very close to the brain itself or in the tissues very close to it, such as the covering membranes of the brain, including the meninges, cranial nerves, pineal, or pituitary gland. It begins with normal cells, which at a later period undergoes some mutational errors in their DNA. The mutation triggers cells to grow and divide at a very high rate while healthy cells keep dying around it. This results in a mass of abnormal cells which gives rise to a tumor. Unlike primary tumors, the secondary tumors begin as cancer elsewhere and spread to the brain.

Symptoms of brain tumor

  • Different patterns of a headache
  • Headaches get more frequent and acutely painful
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision, double vision, or loss of peripheral vision
  • Loss of sensation in the arm or any leg gradually
  • Balance difficulty
  • Speech problems with confusion in simple matters
  • Hearing problems
  • Personality change
  • Sudden seizures and attacks or bouts of pain

Types of Craniotomy

No matter what the goal of the surgery is, it is best to ensure that the incision is made to address the intracranial lesion keeping some principles in mind. A wide variety of intracranial processes can be done via a craniotomy with a different variety of incisions. Some of these variations include frontal craniotomy, pterional craniotomy, temporal craniotomy, decompression craniectomy, and suboccipital craniotomy.

How is Craniotomy performed?

  • An intravenous line is first placed in the arm and general anaesthesia is employed while the patient lies on the operating table.
  • When the patient is no more awake, the head is placed in a 3-pin skull fixing the device. This is attached to a table and keeps the head in a fixed position all throughout the procedure.
  • An insertion of a lumbar drain is made in the lower back to drain out the cerebrospinal fluid. A relaxation drug for the brain named mannitol can be administered at this stage.
  • With an antiseptic, the skull is prepared and an incision is made usually behind the hairline. A good cosmetic result is achieved after the surgery and a hair sparing technique, which requires shaving only one-fourth inch-wide area along the incision proposed is aimed. At times, the total area of the incision may be shaved.
  • The skin and muscles are then removed from the bone and folded back, burr holes are made in the skull using a drill.
  • A saw is introduced through the holes made and cuts the bone flap’s outline. The protective covering of the brain named dura is exposed after the craniotome (the saw) removes the bone flap. This bone flap is kept aside securely to be attached back again after the surgery.
  • Once the dura is opened with surgical scissors, the surgeon folds it back to access the brain. There are retractors placed on the brain to have a corridor opened gently in the brain to address the region requiring removal or repair. 
  • Loupes are used by neurosurgeons, which are special magnifying glasses or an operating microscope to get a view of the delicate nerves and vessels.
  • The brain is very tightly enclosed within the skull and hence, removal of tissues cannot be done easily to repair problems.
  • Therefore, a variety of tools and instruments are employed to work in the deep circuits of the brain like drills, lasers, ultrasonic aspirators (used to break tumours and have the pieces suctioned), dissectors, long handled scissors, and of course computer-aided guidance.
  • Evoked potential monitoring may also be employed to stimulate the specific cranial nerves and the responses generated are monitored. This step ensures that the nerves are functioning properly and not getting damaged as a result of the surgery.
  • After the problem is rectified, the retractors are released and dura is closed along with sutures and the bone flap is placed in its original position and secured with titanium screws and plates. These screws and plates remain permanently in place to support the region and can be felt under the skin.
  • A drain can also be kept as is for some time. It helps collect blood and fluids from the area that is subjected to the surgery. T
  • he skin and muscles are sutured together and a soft turban-like adhesive is placed as dressing over the incision.

Recovery from Craniotomy

  • The patient is shifted to a recovery room where vital signs are monitored after he or she is in complete senses and the effect of the anaesthesia completely wears off.
  • Drowsiness, nausea, and headache are common in craniotomy recovery surgery. Hands, fingers, and toes must be moved frequently to avoid the formation of blood clots.
  • Anticonvulsant medications may be provided and a nurse may keep asking simple questions to figure out alertness.
  • Hospital stay varies from two to three days or even two weeks, depending on the complications that may result.
  • After discharge, keep away from strenuous activities. Some exercises may be prescribed for the slow movement of head and neck.
  • You should notify your doctor about any increase in temperature or infection observed at the sites of the incision. Bathing instructions should be strictly followed.
  • It almost takes around two to eight weeks for complete recovery. Keep visiting your doctor for follow-up checkup or as instructed. Contact your doctor immediately in case of loss of mental function, stroke, seizure, or nerve damage.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Craniotomy in South Africa?

The Craniotomy package cost in South Africa varies from one hospital to another and may offer different benefits. There are many hospital that cover the cost of pre-surgical investigations of the patient in the treatment package. The Craniotomy procedure in South Africa includes the fees of the surgeon, hospitalization and anesthesia as well. There are many things that may increase the cost of Craniotomy in South Africa, including prolonged hospital stay and complications after the procedure.

Which are some of the best hospitals in South Africa for Craniotomyt?

There are several best hospitals for Craniotomy in South Africa. Some of the best hospitals for Craniotomy in South Africa include the following:

  1. Life Kingsbury Hospital
  2. Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
  3. Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital
How many days does it take to recover post Craniotomy in South Africa?

After Craniotomy in South Africa, the patient is supposed to stay in guest house for another 28 days. This duration of stay is recommended to complete all the necessary follow-ups and control tests to ensure that the surgery was successful.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Craniotomy?

South Africa is undoubtedly one of the best countries for Craniotomy in the world. It offers the best medical expertise and good patient experience at an affordable cost. However, there are other countries as mentioned below that are popular for Craniotomy as well:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 4600
IsraelUSD 32000
MalaysiaUSD 20000
SpainUSD 31000
ThailandUSD 30000
TunisiaUSD 13000
TurkeyUSD 9000
How much are the other expenses in South Africa apart from the cost of Craniotomy?

There are certain expenses additional to the Craniotomy cost that the patient may have to pay for. These are the chanrges for daily meals and hotel stay outside the hospital. The per day extra expenses in South Africa per person are about USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in South Africa for Craniotomy Procedure?

Craniotomy in South Africa is offered in almost all metropolitan cities, including the following:

  1. Durban
  2. Lenasia
  3. Johannesburg
  4. Cape Town
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Craniotomy in South Africa?

The patient is supposed to stay at the hospital for about 5 days after Craniotomy for monitoring and care. The patient is subjected to several biochemistry and radiological scans to see that everything is okay and the recovery is on track. After making sure that patient is clinically stable, discharge is planned.

What is the average rating of Hospitals in South Africa offering Craniotomy?

The average rating for Craniotomy hospitals in South Africa is 2.9. This rating is automatically calculated on the basis of several parameters such as the infrastructure of the hospital, quality of services, nursing support and other services.

How many hospitals offer Craniotomy in South Africa?

There are more than 3 hospitals that offer Craniotomy in South Africa. Such hospitals have the required infrastructure and a dedicated unit where patients can be treated. These hospitals comply with all the rules and regulations as dictated by the regulatory bodies and medical association in South Africa

Who are the best doctors for Craniotomy in South Africa?

Some of the best doctors for Craniotomy in South Africa are:

  1. Dr. KD Jivan
  2. Dr. K Ranchod

FAQ's Related to South Africa

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Africa?

The popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Africa are:

  1. Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital
  2. Busamed Hillcrest Private Hospital
  3. Busamed Gateway Private Hospital
  4. Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital
  5. Busamed Lowveld Hospital
  6. Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
  7. Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital
  8. Life Bay View Private Hospital
  9. Lenmed Shifa Hospital

The performance of these hospitals have been evaluated on the below parameters:

  1. Providing clear information about medicines to patients
  2. Effective engagement between nursing staff/doctors and patients;
  3. Suitability of the hospital environment for meeting the needs of patients
  4. Effectively managing pain.

The government of South Africa has strict healthcare regulations in place which all hospitals need to follow to ensure quality treatment. Supported by state-of-art infrastructure, advanced medical equipment, and highly qualified doctors, the hospitals offer various facilities to improve the patient experience.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in South Africa?

The healthcare system in South Africa is accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI) and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). COHSASA develops and evaluates standards in all areas and departments of a healthcare facility in order to make sure that integrated and coordinated care is provided. SafeCare program has been introduced by COHSASA, JCI, and SafeCare Foundation to use internationally recognized standards to improve health care delivery. Hospitals and clinics that initially and meet standards are awarded two-year accreditations and as the journey in excellence continues, awards of longer duration are given.

Why should I opt for healthcare in South Africa?

South Africa is gaining global attention for medical tourism due to affordable treatment costs and world-class infrastructure. South Africa’s growing popularity in medical tourism is also attributed to factors like a large pool of accredited hospitals, advanced technology, world-class facilities provided by hospitals, global exposure of doctors. South Africa’s recent advancement in stem cell therapy has made it one of the most preferred countries for seeking advanced medical treatment. The hospitals in South Africa strive to take the stress out of your medical holiday by helping you with all kinds of organization and administrative tasks, as well as provide all-inclusive care and assistance on a 24/7 basis.

How is the quality of doctors in South Africa?

South Africa produces some of the finest doctors in the world who are well-trained and highly qualified to serve patients with quality care. Many doctors in South Africa receive their training in foreign countries like Australia and Cuba which provide them global exposure and make them more competent in handling cases with high precision and accuracy. The doctors deliver great results in dental procedures and fertility treatments and provide complete patient satisfaction through a holistic approach. South Africa has world-class doctors due to several reasons like their education at reputed colleges, adherence to global standards, patient-centric approach, and incorporation of the human touch in treatment.

How to obtain a medical visa in South Africa?

A person can apply for a medical visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission helps one decide for how long a visa can be extended. Anyone willing to stay in the country for longer than 3 months needs to apply for a temporary residency permit. An application for a visa is not accepted more than 30 days prior to departure and the validity of a visa begins from the date of issue by the Consulate of India in South Africa and not from the date of travel. Here is a list of documents that you will require for applying for a medical visa:

  1. Passport
  2. Passport-sized photographs
  3. Online Application form
  4. Full return flight reservation
  5. Proof of stay in South Africa
  6. Signed official medical letter from medical institution
  7. Signed medical letter from a recognized local practitioner
What are the popular procedures available in South Africa?

Some popular procedures available in South Africa are hip replacement, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, total knee replacement, meniscus repairs. Besides offering these popular procedures, South Africa also attracts many medical tourists for cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment. Egg donation program is very popular in the country and you have an option of having either a surgical or non-surgical procedure, with very low waiting times. People select South Africa to avail these procedures due to several reasons, such as world-class hospitals with superior infrastructure and highly-skilled doctors, fast recovery, and use of cutting-edge medical technology.

Which are the most popular cities in South Africa for medical treatment?

South Africa has a number of modern urban centers, such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. Cape Town a major tourist attraction that has a rich culture, world-class doctors, and modern health facilities. Most of these cities have an efficient public transportation system, cheap accommodation options, and connectivity through airlines. Johannesburg’s public and private healthcare industry coordinates with South Africa's medical schools to create internationally recognized medical specialists and the quality of medical care is on par with Great Britain.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to South Africa?

Yes, some vaccines are highly recommended or required for South Africa. WHO and the National Travel Health Network and Centre recommend the following vaccinations: hepatitis A, yellow fever, rabies and tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera. Infants of 6 to 11 months old are at greater risk of contracting measles, so they must get MMR vaccine before travelling to South Africa. It is always recommended that you get typhoid vaccination if you are going to stay with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas of South Africa. You can connect with your doctor or the hospital in South Africa for the required vaccines. Also, refer to the travel advisory issued by the government.