Profile of  M. Gazi Yaşargil, MD

Professor M. Gazi Yaşargil was born on July 6. 1925 in Lice, Turkey. He completed high school in Ankara, Turkey, studied two semesters of medicine at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany (1944-1945), and completed his medical doctor degree at the University of Basel, Switzerland in September 1949. Following his rotation program in neuroanatomy, neurology, psychiatry, internal medicine and general surgery (1950-1952), he began his neurosurgical residency (1953-1960) at the University Hospital in Zurich, under Professor H. Krayenbühl, Professor G. Weber and Professor E. Zander. In 1960 he became privat docent, in 1965 Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, and in 1973 Ordinarius Professor and Chairman at the Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital, Zurich, until his retirement in January 1993.

During the first 12 years of his neurosurgery practice as resident, chief resident and docent (1953-1965), Professor Yaşargil was involved in developing percutaneous carotid, vertebral and orbital angiography. The detailed results have been published in five books (1957-1965).

In 1957 he learned stereotactic surgery with Professor Th. Riechert and Professor Fr. Mundinger in the Department of Neurosurgery, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, and introduced the application of high-frequency coagulation techniques on patients with Parkinsonism and movement disorders, in the Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital, Zürich.

In 1961 he introduced the technique of spinal fusion using a telescopic screw device.

From October 1965 to December 1966 Professor Yaşargil spent 14 months in the animal laboratory at the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, USA, (Chairman Professor R.M. Peardon Donaghy). He learned and improved microvascular suture techniques on peripheral arteries, and pioneered the application of microtechniques to the cerebral arteries of dogs, subsequently establishing reconstructive microvascular procedures and by-pass surgeries on patients.

On his return to Zurich in December 1966, he began to apply microtechniques to the entire field of neurosurgery. Recognizing the phylogenetic and ontogenetic predilection sites of lesions of the central nervous system, and the distinct arrangement of the cranio-spinal cisterns, he developed transcisternal approaches to cranial and spinal lesions, and thus accomplished  “pure lesionectomies” with the principle of complete elimination of the lesion at the first surgical exploration. The outcomes and results on several thousand patients have been summarized and presented in eight monographs, namely; Microvascular Surgery 1967, Microsurgery applied to Neurosurgery 1968, and Microneurosurgery in 6 volumes 1984 – 1996

Between November 1994 and July 2013 Professor Yaşargil was active as Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA (Chairman Professor Ossama Al-Mefty), where a  renowned center for microneurosurgery was created,  and regular microsurgery  courses for young colleagues were offered.

In November 2013 Professor Yaşargil was appointed Professor of Neurosurgery at Yeditepe University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey, (Chairman Professor Uğur Türe), where he continues to be actively involved in microneurosurgical practice, teaching, lecturing and preparing publications.