Gazi Yasargil

Gazi Yasargil
Mahmut Gazi Yaşargil
Born July 6, 1925 (1925-07-06) (age 86)
Turkey Diyarbakır, Turkey
Education Ankara University, Basel University
Years active 1950-present
Known for Founding Microneurosurgery
Profession Surgeon
Institutions University of Vermont
University of Zurich
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Specialism Neurosurgery, Microneurosurgery
Research microvascular surgery
Cerebrovascular disease

Mahmut Gazi Yaşargil is a Turkish medical scientist and neurosurgeon (born on July 6, 1925 in Lice, Diyarbakır, Turkey). He is the founder of microneurosurgery. Yaşargil treated epilepsy and brain tumors with instruments of his own design. From 1953 until his retirement in 1993 he was first resident, chief resident and then professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Zurich and the Zurich University Hospital. In 1999 he was honored as "Neurosurgery’s Man of the Century 1950-1999" at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting.


Education and career

After attending Ankara Atatürk Lisesi and Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey between 1931 and 1943, he went to Germany to study medicine at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germanys, and ergonomic aneurysm clips and appliers. His genius in developing microsurgical techniques for use in cerebrovascular neurosurgery transformed the outcomes of patients with conditions that were previously inoperable. In 1969 Yaşargil became associate professor and in 1973 professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Zurich succeeding his mentor, Prof. Krayenbuhl. Over the next 20 years, he carried out laboratory work and clinical applications of micro techniques, performing 7500 intracranial operations in Zurich until his retirement in 1993. In 1994, Yaşargil accepted an appointment as Professor of Neurosurgery at the College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock where he is still active in the practice of micro-neurosurgery, research, and teaching.

Together with Harvey Cushing, Yaşargil is hailed as one of the greatest neurosurgeons of the twentieth century. He has helped three generations of neurosurgeons, defining what is possible in neurosurgery, and then demonstrating how to achieve it. In the micro-neurosurgical anatomical laboratory in Zurich he trained around 3000 colleagues from all continents and representing all surgical specialties. He participated in several hundred national and international neurosurgical congresses, symposia, and courses as an invited guest. Yaşargil is in high regard in the Turkish society and is respected as an exemplary role model for Turkish youth.

He is married to Dianne Bader-Gibson Yaşargil, who was the nurse in charge of the operating suite by his side since 1973, and is still assisting him in surgery.


Yaşargil published his surgical experiences in 330 papers and 13 monographs. The six-volume publication Microneurosurgery (1984–1996, Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart-New York) is the comprehensive review of his broad experiences and a major contribution to the neurosurgery literature.


  • 1973-1975 President of the Neurosurgical Society of Switzerland

Honorary Degrees

Honorary Doctor

  • 1990 Ankara University, Medical Department of İbni Sina, Ankara, Turkey
  • 1991 İstanbul University, Medical Department of Cerrahpaşa, İstanbul, Turkey
  • 1999 University of Lima, Peru
  • 2000 Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
  • 2001 Capital University of Medical Sciences, Beijing and Xian, China
  • 2002 Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Germany

Honorary Professor

  • 1993 University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2003 19 May University Samsun, Turkey

Honorary Citizen

Honorary Membership

  • 1976 Academia Brasileira de Neurocirurgia
  • 1977 Society of Neurological Surgeons, USA
  • 1979 American Heart Association, Dallas, Texas, USA (Honorary Fellow)
  • 1981 Canadian Neurosurgical Society
  • 1986 Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • 1987 Japan Neurosurgical Society
  • 1989 American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Harvey Cushing Society
  • 1989 Swiss Society of Neuroradiology
  • 1990 Royal Society of Medicine, London, Section of Neurology
  • 1990 Turkish Neurosurgical Society
  • 1990 International Skull Base Society
  • 1993 Swiss Neurosurgical Society
  • 1994 Argentine Neurosurgical Society
  • 1998 American Society of Neuroradiology
  • 1998 Turkish Academy of Sciences
  • 1999 Peruvian Neurosurgical Society
  • 2000 Italian Neurosurgical Society
  • 2002 Hong Kong Neurosurgical Society
  • 2003 Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society, USA
  • 2003 Mexican Society of Neurological Surgery
  • 2006 Sociedade Portuguesa de Neurocirurgia


  • 1957 Vogt-Award of the Swiss Ophthalmological Society
  • 1968 Robert-Bing-Prize of Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences
  • 1976 Marcel-Benoit-Prize of Swiss Federation
  • 1980 “Neurosurgeon of the Year”
  • 1981 Pioneer Microsurgeon Award of the International Microsurgical Society, Sydney, Australia
  • 1988 Medal of Honor of Universita di Napoli e della Compagna Naples, Italy
  • 1992 Medical Award of the Republic of Turkey
  • 1997 Gold Medal of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies
  • 1998 Distinguished Faculty Scholar, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • 1998 Honored as “Neurosurgeon of the Century” by the Brazilian Neurosurgical Society
  • 1999 European Association of Neurological Surgeons Medal of Honor
  • 1999 Honored as "Neurosurgery’s Man of the Century 1950-1999" by the journal Neurosurgery at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting
  • 2000 Fedor Krause Medal, German Neurosurgical Society
  • 2000 Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons
  • 2000 Turkish State Medal of Distinguished Service[1]
  • 2000 Award of the Turkish Academy of Sciences
  • 2002 International Francesco Durante Award, Italy


  • Widely acclaimed poet Can Yucel and Gazi Yaşargil were best friends during their years in Ankara Atatürk Lisesi.


External links

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