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Ziya Gokaslan, MD

Ziya Levent Gokaslan, MD
Donlin M. Long Professor of Neurosurgery
Professor of Neurological Surgery

See Research on Pubmed | See Research on Google Scholar

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital

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Call 410-464-6641 (8a.m. to 6p.m., EST, Mon-Fri)

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  • Donlin M. Long Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Vice-Chairman of Neurosurgery
  • Director of the Neurosurgical Spine Center
  • Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
  • Professor of Oncology

Centers & Institutes

  • Neurosurgical Spine Center


Aneurysmal Bone Cyst, Back Injuries, Back Pain, Basilar Impression, Basilar Invagination, Cauda Equina Syndrome, Cavernous Angioma, Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical Degenerative Disc Herniation, Cervical Disc Herniation, Cervical Myelopathy, Cervical Radiculopathy, Cervical Spondylosis, Chiari Malformations, Chondrosarcoma, Chordomas, Cranio-cervical Junction Pathology, Degenerative Disc Disease, Degenerative Spine Disease, Disc Pain, Giant Cell Tumor, Hemangioblastoma, Hemangiomas, Kyphosis, Lumbar Degenerative Disease, Lumbar Disc Herniation, Lumbar Radiculopathy, Minimally Invasive Pediatric Surgery, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Myxopapillary Ependymoma, Neck Pain, Nerve Sheath Tumor, Neurological Surgery, Neurosurgery, Neurosurgical Oncology, Osteoblastoma, Osteoid Osteoma, Radiculopathy, Sacral Tumors, Sarcoma, Schwannoma, Sciatica, Scoliosis, Spinal Column Tumors, Spinal Cord Injury, Spinal Cord Malformation, Spinal Cord Trauma, Spinal Cord Tumors, Spinal Decompression, Spinal Deformities, Spinal Deformity, Spinal Disorders, Spinal Dural Fistula, Spinal Ependymoma, Spinal Fixation, Spinal Fusion, Spinal Infection, Spinal Instability, Spinal Meningioma, Spinal Metastases, Spinal Neurofibroma, Spinal Pain, Spinal Reconstruction, Spinal Schwannoma, Spinal Stenosis, Spinal Trauma, Spinal Tumors, Spine and Spinal Deformities, Spine Surgery, Spine Tumors, Spondylolisthesis, Thoracic Disc Herniation

Research Interests

Devising novel therapeutic approaches to spinal tumors; Define roles of proteolytic enzymes in tumor invasion; Development of new animal models to study the pathophysiology of neoplastic spinal cord compression


Dr. Ziya Gokaslan is a professor of neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery and oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His clinical practice focuses on the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic spinal tumors, sacral neoplasms and spinal cord tumors. He developed many novel approaches for resection of pancoast tumors, spinal neoplasms and sacral tumors.

Dr. Gokaslan is the Donlin M. Long Professor of Neurosurgery, the director of the Neurosurgical Spine Center and the vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

He received his medical degree from the University of Istanbul in Turkey. He completed an internship in general surgery, a fellowship in neurotraumatology and a residency in neurological surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine. He went on to complete a fellowship in clinical spinal surgery in the Department of Orthopedics and Neurosurgery at the New York University Medical Center.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Gokaslan was the director of the Neurosurgical Spinal Oncology Section and the Deputy Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2002.

Dr. Gokaslan’s research uses animal models to develop local chemotherapeutic delivery systems for primary and metastatic spinal tumors. In addition, he oversees clinical trials assessing the efficacy of surgery and spinal reconstruction for spinal column tumors.

Dr. Gokaslan has authored over 250 peer-reviewed papers and has presented over 200 national and international lectures. He was voted one of the “Best Doctors in America” since 2005 and garnered Baltimore magazine’s Top Doctors recognition since 2007. He serves on the editorial boards of top academic journals, is the past president of AANS/CNS Section on the Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerve and is a member of numerous prestigious societies, notably the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the Cervical Spine Research Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the North American Spine Society.


  • English
  • Turkish


Society of Neurological Surgeons

Cervical Spine Research Society

American Society of Clinical Oncology

American Association of Neurological Surgeons

Congress of Neurological Surgeons

North American Spine Society

Scoliosis Research Society

Additional Resources

Additional Resources +
  • Education +


    • Istanbul University, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine (1983)


    • Baylor College of Medicine - Neurosurgery (1993)


    • Baylor College of Medicine - Sleep Disorders and Psychiatry (1985)
    • Baylor College of Medicine - Neurotrauma and Neurosurgery (1987)
    • New York University Medical Center - Spinal Surgery (1994)


    • Neurological Surgery, American Board of Neurological Surgery (1997)
  • Research & Publications +

    Research Summary

    Dr Gokaslan’s research currently involves the use of animal models to develop local chemotherapeutic delivery systems for primary and metastatic spinal tumors. In addition, Dr Gokaslan oversees clinical trials assessing the efficacy of surgery and spinal reconstruction for primary and metastatic spinal column tumors.

    Selected Publications View all on PubMed

    1. Zadnik P, Hwang L, Ju D, Groves M, Sui J, Amin A, Witham T, Bydon A, Wolinksy JP, Gokaslan ZL, Sciubba DM. Demographics and Prognostic Variables for Patients Undergoing Spine Surgery for Metastatic Breast Cancer. Submitted Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. September 2012.
    2. Kaloostian PE, Zadnik PL, Karami K, Groves ML, Amin AG, Ju DG, Wolinsky JP, Witham TF, Bydon A, Gokaslan ZL, Sciubba DM. Larger tumor volumes predict higher mortality and increased local recurrence rates following surgical resection of sacral chordoma: The results of a 10-year study at a single academic institution. Submitted Annals of Oncology November 2012.
    3. Karami K, Zadnik PL, Kaloostian P, Groves ML, Gurakar M, Amin AG, Ju DG, Wolinsky JP, Witham TF, Bydon A, Gokaslan ZL, Sciubba DM. Clinical outcomes following surgery for multiple myeloma: results from a decade of experience at a single center. Submitted Neurosurgery November 2012 (submitted).
    4. Zadnik P, Sarabia-Estrada R, Groves M, Molina C, Jackson C, McCarthy E, Gokaslan ZL, Bydon A, Wolinsky JP, Witham TF, Sciubba DM.A novel animal model of human breast cancer metastasis to the spine: a pilot study using intracardiac injection and luciferase-expressing cells. Laboratory investigation. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. Accepted November 26, 2012.
    5. Papadimitriou K, Amin AG, Kretzer RM, Sciubba DM, Bydon A, Witham TF, Wolinsky JP, Gokaslan ZL, Baaj AA. Thromboembolic events and spinal surgery. J Clin Neurosci. 2012 Dec;19(12):1617-21
    6. Kaloostian PE, Gokaslan ZL. The Current Role of Surgery in Metastatic Spine Disease: A New Era. Ann Surg Oncol. 2012. Nov 13.
    7. Baaj AA, Gokaslan ZL. Venous thromboembolism in spine surgery. World Neurosurg. 2012 Nov;78(5):433.
    8. Dasenbrock HH, Wolinsky JP, Sciubba DM, Witham TF, Gokaslan ZL, Bydon A. The impact of insurance status on outcomes after surgery for spinal metastases. Cancer. 2012 Oct 1;118(19):4833-41.
    9. Feiz-Erfan I, Fox BD, Nader R, Suki D, Chakrabarti I, Mendel E, Gokaslan ZL, Rao G, Rhines LD. Surgical treatment of sacral metastases: indications and results. J Neurosurg Spine. 2012 Oct;17(4):285-91.
    10. Bydon M, Papadimitriou K, Witham T, Wolinsky JP, Sciubba D, Gokaslan Z, Bydon A. Treatment of Spinal Synovial Cysts. World Neurosurg. 2012 Sep 25.
    11. Clarke MJ, Dasenbrock H, Bydon A, Sciubba DM, McGirt MJ, Hsieh PC, Yassari R, Gokaslan ZL, Wolinsky JP. Posterior-only approach for en bloc sacrectomy: clinical outcomes in 36 consecutive patients. Neurosurgery. 2012 Aug;71(2):357-64; discussion 364.
    12. Hsu W, Mohyeldin A, Shah SR, Gokaslan ZL, Quinones-Hinojosa A. Role of cancer stem cells in spine tumors: review of current literature. Neurosurgery. 2012 Jul;71(1):117-25. Review.
  • Academic Affiliations & Courses +
  • Activities & Honors +


    2014 Leon Wiltse Award from the North American Spine Society 

    Best Doctor in America, 2005 - present

    Top Doctor, Baltimore Magazine, 2007 - present

    Professional Activities

    Editorial board, Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques

    Editorial board, The Spine Journal

    Editorial board, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

    Editorial board, The European Spine Journal

    Editorial board, Nature Reviews in Neurology

    Editorial board, Journal of Surgical Oncology

    Editorial board, World Neurosurgery

    Executive committee, CNS Section on the Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerve, American Association of Neurological Surgeons

  • Videos & Media +


    Meet our Experts: Dr. Ziya Gokaslan

    Dr. Ziya Gokaslan, director of the neurosurgical spine center, offers surgical treatment for primary and metastatic spinal tumors, sacral neoplasms and spinal cord tumors

    Patient Video: Felice's Story - Back and Neck Pain

    Felice lived with neck pain for years. Surgery by spine surgeon Dr. Ziya Gokaslan from Johns Hopkins Department of Neurosurgery allowed her to now live a pain-free life. Watch her story and learn about the multidisciplinary team offering relief to back pain sufferers.

    Patient Video: Dr. Moreau's story - Adult Spinal Cord Tumor

    Diagnosed with an ependymoma spinal cord tumor, Dr. Louis Moreau sought treatment at the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgical Spine Center. Watch him return to Hopkins to share his experience with medical students.

    Video Links

    Recent News Articles & Media Coverage

    Johns Hopkins Researchers Develop New Image-Based Surgical Guidance System, MedDevice Online (04/01/2014)

    22 Spine Surgeons Focused on Trauma Care, Becker's Spine Review (01/17/2014)

    How Will the Future Shape the Practice of Spine Surgery? Q&A With Dr. Ziya Gokaslan of Johns Hopkins, Becker's Spine Review (08/11/2013)

    Relieving Pain, and Paying It Forward, NeuroNow (Summer 2013)

    Curing Chordomas, NeuroLogic (Spring 2013)

    A Rare Chance to Cure A Difficult Cancer, Collaborations in Discovery (November 2011)

  • Events +
  • Contact & Locations +


    The Johns Hopkins Hospital
    600 N. Wolfe Street
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Phone: 410-955-4424
    Appointment Phone: 410-955-4424
    Fax: 410-502-3399
    Location Map
    Johns Hopkins Medicine - Green Spring Station
    10755 Falls Road
    Pavilion I
    Suite 460
    Lutherville, MD 21093
    Phone: 443-287-4934
    Appointment Phone: 410-955-4424
    Fax: 410-502-2383
    Location Map


    • Neurological Surgery - Spine Division
    • Orthopaedic Surgery
    • Oncology - Brain Cancer

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