INTRODUCTION: Noma is a significant yet neglected disease which affects some of the least developed countries in the world. The long-term benefit and safety of Noma surgical reconstructive missions have recently been under scrutiny due to a perceived lack of measurable outcomes and appropriate follow-up. This study analyses and reports on classifications, outcome measurement tools and follow-up for reconstructive surgery after Noma disease.
METHODS: This systematic review was undertaken following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines. The three medical databases Medline, EMBASE and Web of Sciences were searched, articles published between 1 January 1983 and 15 April 2020 were included. All primary evidence on reconstructive surgery following Noma disease, reporting data on outcome after surgery, follow-up time and complications were included. Extracted data were aggregated to generate overall and population corrected mean outcomes and complication rates.
RESULTS: Out of 1393 identified records, 31 studies including 1110 Noma patients were analysed. NOITULP and Montandon/WHO were the most commonly used classification systems. Mouth opening (MO) and complication rates were the two most often reported outcomes. Overall mean complication rate was 44%, reported by 24 studies. Postoperative MO was reported by eight publications, of which, five reported long-term outcomes (>12 months). Mean MO improved by 20 mm when compared with mean population weighted preoperative MO (7 mm). At long-term follow-up, MO decreased to 20 mm.
CONCLUSIONS: Studies reporting on neglected diseases in developing countries often lack methodological rigour. Surgeons should be mindful during patient examination by using a classification system that allows to compare preoperative versus postoperative state of disease. Short-term mission surgery is a vital part of healthcare delivery to underdeveloped and poor regions. Future missions should aim at sustainable partnerships with local healthcare providers to ensure postoperative care and long-term patient-oriented follow-up. A shift towards a diagonal treatment delivery approach, whereby local surgeons and healthcare staff are educated and empowered, should be actively promoted.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020181931.
|Publication status||Published - 5 Aug 2021|
- Follow-Up Studies
- Postoperative Period
- Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
- plastic & reconstructive surgery
- paediatric oral & maxillofacial surgery
- public health
- community child health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (all)