Research Summary

Dr. Dean Chou specializes in the treatment of complex and difficult spinal disorders. He treats such disorders as adult kyphoscoliosis, spinal deformities, flat back syndrome, complex spinal tumors, and degenerative conditions of the spine. He is an expert in minimally invasive applications to such complex spinal disorders, and he has published multiple peer-reviewed papers describing his techniques. Moreover, he is an expert in traditional, open surgery for such complex procedures as spinal reconstruction for deformities or failed back syndrome and en bloc excision of complex spinal tumors. His goal is to try to accomplish the same success of open surgery with minimally invasive techniques, which hopefully can lead to less morbidity and better outcomes for patients.

After medical school at UCSF, Dr. Chou completed his residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and then undertook a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at The Barrow Neurological Institute. He is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and has been elected by his peers for 10 consecutive years to the organization, “Best Doctors in America."

In addition to having published as either first or senior author in SPINE, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Global Spine Journal, Neurosurgical Focus, and Neurosurgery, his publications have been featured 5 times as the cover article of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Dr. Chou sits on the editorial boards of the JOURNAL OF NEUROSURGERY: SPINE, the journal, NEUROSURGERY, and the journal, PLOS ONE, as an academic editor. He also sits on the advisory board of the journal, SPINE. He currently serves on the executive committees and scientific program committees for the AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, on the Board of Directors of the Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS), and on the Membership Committee for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). He has served as abstract reviewer and faculty member for such organizations as the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), the North American Spine Society (NASS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the AANS, the LSRS, the Global Spine Congress, and the International Meeting for Advanced Spinal Techniques (IMAST).


University of California Berkeley, 1991, B.A., Biochemistry
University of California, San Francisco, 1996, M.D., Medicine
The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1996-1997, Intern, General Surgery
The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1997-2002, Resident, Neurosurgery
The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Assistant Chief of Service, 2002-2003, Neurosurgery
Barrow Neurological Institute, Spine Fellow, 2003-2004, Spine surgery

Honors & Awards

  • 1990
    UC Berkeley Honor Students Society
  • 1990
    American Heart Association Research Fellowship
  • 1991
    Golden Key National Honor Society
  • 1992
    UCSF School of Medicine Dean's Summer Research Fellowship
  • 1993
    UCSF Travel Award to Western Student Medical Research Committee Meeting in Carmel, CA
  • 1993
    American Federation for Clinical Research Award for Excellence in Research
  • 1994
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Training Fellowship
  • 1995
    Lucien J. Rubinstein Award for Best Paper in Neuro-Oncology, American Association of Neuropathologists Annual Meeting
  • 2000
    AANS Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) Grant
  • 2004
    Cover Article, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine
  • 2007
    Who's Who in American Teachers and Educators
  • 2007
    Who's Who in Science and Engineering
  • 2007
    Harold Rosegay Neurosurgery Resident Teaching Award
  • 2009
    Best Doctors in America
  • 2009
    Cover Article, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine
  • 2010
    Outcomes Committee Award, AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
  • 2010
    Cover Article, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Selected Publications

  1. Asher AL, Haid RW, Stroink AR, Michalopoulos GD, Alexander AY, Zeitouni D, Chan AK, Virk MS, Glassman SD, Foley KT, Slotkin JR, Potts EA, Shaffrey ME, Shaffrey CI, Park P, Upadhyaya C, Coric D, Tumialán LM, Chou D, Fu KG, Knightly JJ, Orrico KO, Wang MY, Bisson EF, Mummaneni PV, Bydon M. Research using the Quality Outcomes Database: accomplishments and future steps toward higher-quality real-world evidence. J Neurosurg. 2023 May 19; 1-19.  View on PubMed
  2. Vargas E, Shabani S, Mummaneni PV, Park C, Rechav Ben-Natan A, Rivera JJ, Huang J, Berven S, Braunstein S, Chou D. Does surgery for metastatic spinal tumors improve functional outcomes in patients without spinal cord compression but with potentially unstable spines? J Neurosurg Spine. 2023 May 05; 1-8.  View on PubMed
  3. Farber SH, Walker CT, Zhou JJ, Godzik J, Gandhi SV, de Andrada Pereira B, Koffie RM, Xu DS, Sciubba DM, Shin JH, Steinmetz MP, Wang MY, Shaffrey CI, Kanter AS, Yen CP, Chou D, Blaskiewicz DJ, Phillips FM, Park P, Mummaneni PV, Fessler RD, Härtl R, Glassman SD, Koski T, Deviren V, Taylor WR, Kakarla UK, Turner JD, Uribe JS. Reliability of a Novel Classification System for Thoracic Disc Herniations. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2023 May 01.  View on PubMed
  4. Neira JA, Chou D. Commentary: Augmented Reality-Assisted Resection of a Large Presacral Ganglioneuroma: 2-Dimensional Operative Video. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2023 Apr 21.  View on PubMed
  5. Passias PG, Tretiakov PS, Nunley PD, Wang MY, Park P, Kanter AS, Okonkwo DO, Eastlack RK, Mundis GM, Chou D, Agarwal N, Fessler RG, Uribe JS, Anand N, Than KD, Brusko G, Fu KM, Turner JD, Le VP, Line BG, Ames CP, Smith JS, Shaffrey CI, Hart RA, Burton D, Lafage R, Lafage V, Schwab F, Bess S, Mummaneni PV. Incremental benefits of circumferential minimally invasive surgery for increasingly frail patients with adult spinal deformity. J Neurosurg Spine. 2023 Apr 21; 1-7.  View on PubMed
  6. Passias PG, Joujon-Roche R, Mir JM, Williamson TK, Tretiakov PS, Imbo B, Krol O, Passfall L, Ahmad S, Lebovic J, Owusu-Sarpong S, Lanre-Amos T, Protopsaltis T, Lafage R, Lafage V, Park P, Chou D, Mummaneni PV, Fu KG, Than KD, Smith JS, Janjua MB, Schoenfeld AJ, Diebo BG, Vira S. Natural history of adult spinal deformity: how do patients with suboptimal surgical outcomes fare relative to nonoperative counterparts? J Neurosurg Spine. 2023 Apr 14; 1-9.  View on PubMed
  7. Chan AK, Shaffrey CI, Park C, Gottfried ON, Than KD, Bisson EF, Bydon M, Asher AL, Coric D, Potts EA, Foley KT, Wang MY, Fu KM, Virk MS, Knightly JJ, Meyer S, Park P, Upadhyaya CD, Shaffrey ME, Buchholz AL, Tumialán LM, Turner JD, Michalopoulos GD, Sherrod BA, Agarwal N, Chou D, Haid RW, Mummaneni PV. Do comorbid self-reported depression and anxiety influence outcomes following surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy? J Neurosurg Spine. 2023 Mar 31; 1-17.  View on PubMed
  8. Passias PG, Williamson TK, Krol O, Joujon-Roche R, Imbo B, Tretiakov P, Ahmad S, Bennett-Caso C, Lebovic J, Owusu-Sarpong S, Park P, Chou D, Vira S, Diebo BG, Schoenfeld AJ. Patient-Centered Outcomes Following Prone Lateral Single-Position Approach to Same-Day Circumferential Spine Surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2023 Mar 24.  View on PubMed
  9. Bharadwaj UU, Christine M, Li S, Chou D, Pedoia V, Link TM, Chin CT, Majumdar S. Deep learning for automated, interpretable classification of lumbar spinal stenosis and facet arthropathy from axial MRI. Eur Radiol. 2023 May; 33(5):3435-3443.  View on PubMed
  10. Burke JF, Garcia JH, Safaee MM, Wong C, Gill SA, Chou D, Mummaneni PV, Deviren V, Ames CP, Clark AJ. Patient Frailty Influences Outcome After Open, But Not Minimally Invasive, Transforaminal Interbody Fusion: A Case Series of 115 Patients With Lumbar Degenerative Disease. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2023 Mar 10.  View on PubMed
  11. Wang K, Zhang X, Zhao Z, Chou D, Jian F, Wu H. A modified oblique lumbar interbody fusion: A better way to establish an exposure under direct microscopic vision. Front Surg. 2023; 10:1130489.  View on PubMed
  12. Anand N, Mummaneni PV, Uribe JS, Turner J, Than KD, Chou D, Nunley PD, Wang MY, Fessler RG, Le V, Robinson J, Walker C, Kahwaty S, Khanderhoo B, Eastlack RK, Okonkwo DO, Kanter AS, Fu KG, Mundis GM, Passias P, Park P, International Spine Study Group. Spinal Deformity Complexity Checklist for Minimally Invasive Surgery: Expert Consensus from the Minimally Invasive International Spine Study Group. World Neurosurg. 2023 Feb 23.  View on PubMed
  13. Shabani S, Agarwal N, Ben-Natan AR, Huang J, Le VP, Chou D, Mummaneni PV. Technical Note: Hinged Table for Single-Position Navigated Lateral Surgery: 2-Dimensional Operative Video. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2023 Feb 23.  View on PubMed
  14. Bisson EF, Mummaneni PV, Michalopoulos GD, El Sammak S, Chan AK, Agarwal N, Wang MY, Knightly JJ, Sherrod BA, Gottfried ON, Than KD, Shaffrey CI, Goldberg JL, Virk MS, Hussain I, Shabani S, Glassman SD, Tumialan LM, Turner JD, Uribe JS, Meyer SA, Lu DC, Buchholz AL, Upadhyaya C, Shaffrey ME, Park P, Foley KT, Coric D, Slotkin JR, Potts EA, Stroink AR, Chou D, Fu KG, Haid RW, Asher AL, Bydon M. Sleep Disturbances in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: Prevalence and Postoperative Outcomes-an Analysis From the Quality Outcomes Database. Clin Spine Surg. 2023 Apr 01; 36(3):112-119.  View on PubMed
  15. Bergin SM, Michalopoulos GD, Shaffrey CI, Gottfried ON, Johnson E, Bisson EF, Wang MY, Knightly JJ, Virk MS, Tumialán LM, Turner JD, Upadhyaya CD, Shaffrey ME, Park P, Foley KT, Coric D, Slotkin JR, Potts EA, Chou D, Fu KG, Haid RW, Asher AL, Bydon M, Mummaneni PV, Than KD. Characteristics of patients who return to work after undergoing surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a Quality Outcomes Database study. J Neurosurg Spine. 2023 Feb 17; 1-10.  View on PubMed
  16. Zaki MM, Joshi RS, Ibrahim S, Michalopoulos GD, Linzey JR, Saadeh YS, Upadhyaya C, Coric D, Potts EA, Bisson EF, Turner JD, Knightly JJ, Fu KM, Foley KT, Tumialan L, Shaffrey ME, Bydon M, Mummaneni PV, Chou D, Chan AK, Meyer S, Asher AL, Shaffrey CI, Gottfried ON, Than KD, Wang M, Haid R, Slotkin JR, Glassman SD, Park P. How closely are outcome questionnaires correlated to patient satisfaction after cervical spine surgery for myelopathy? J Neurosurg Spine. 2023 Feb 17; 1-9.  View on PubMed
  17. Disch AC, Boriani S, Luzzati A, Rhines LD, Fisher CG, Lazary A, Gokaslan ZL, Chou D, Clarke MJ, Fehlings MG, Schaser KD, Germscheid NM, Reynolds JJ. Extradural Primary Malignant Spinal Tumors in a Population Younger than 25 Years: An Ambispective International Multicenter Study on Onco-Surgical Outcomes. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Jan 30; 15(3).  View on PubMed
  18. Chan AK, Chou D. Commentary: A Novel Cervical Vertebral Bone Quality Score Independently Predicts Cage Subsidence Following Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion. Neurosurgery. 2023 04 01; 92(4):e80-e81.  View on PubMed
  19. Disch AC, Boriani S, Lazary A, Rhines LD, Luzzati A, Gokaslan ZL, Fisher CG, Fehlings MG, Clarke MJ, Chou D, Germscheid NM, Schaser KD, Reynolds JJ. Outcomes of Surgical Treatment for Extradural Benign Primary Spinal Tumors in Patients Younger than 25 Years: An Ambispective International Multicenter Study. Cancers (Basel). 2023 Jan 20; 15(3).  View on PubMed
  20. Chan AK, Chou D. Commentary: Utilization Trends, Cost, and Payments for Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery in Commercial and Medicare-Insured Populations. Neurosurgery. 2023 03 01; 92(3):e52-e53.  View on PubMed

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