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. Uribe JS, Koffie RM, Wang MY, Mundis GM, Kanter AS, Eastlack RK, Anand N, Park P, Smith JS, Burton DC, Chou D, Kelly MP, Kim HJ, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Schwab FJ, Lenke LG, Mummaneni PV. Are minimally invasive spine surgeons or classical open spine surgeons more consistent with their treatment of adult spinal deformity? World Neurosurg. 2022 May 25.  View on PubMed
  2. Chan AK, Shahrestani S, Ballatori AM, Orrico KO, Manley GT, Tarapore PE, Huang M, Dhall SS, Chou D, Mummaneni PV, DiGiorgio AM. Is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hierarchical Condition Category Risk Adjustment Model Satisfactory for Quantifying Risk After Spine Surgery? Neurosurgery. 2022 May 16.  View on PubMed
  3. Shabani S, Mummaneni PV, Chan A, Huang J, Agarwal N, Deviran V, Chou D. Management of Thoracic Disc Pathology via the Lateral Approach: Advances Using the Minimally Invasive Approach and Navigation. Int J Spine Surg. 2022 Mar; 16(S1):S44-S52.  View on PubMed
  4. Letchuman V, Agarwal N, Mummaneni VP, Wang MY, Shabani S, Patel A, Rivera J, Haddad A, Le V, Chang JM, Chou D, Gandhi S, Mummaneni PV. Pearls and Pitfalls of Awake Spine Surgery: A Simplified Patient-Selection Algorithm. World Neurosurg. 2022 Feb 22; 161:154-155.  View on PubMed
  5. Than KD, Mehta VA, Le V, Moss JR, Park P, Uribe JS, Eastlack RK, Chou D, Fu KM, Wang MY, Anand N, Passias PG, Shaffrey CI, Okonkwo DO, Kanter AS, Nunley P, Mundis GM, Fessler RG, Mummaneni PV. Role of obesity in less radiographic correction and worse health-related quality-of-life outcomes following minimally invasive deformity surgery. J Neurosurg Spine. 2022 Feb 18; 1-10.  View on PubMed
  6. Passias PG, Passfall L, Williamson TK, Schoenfeld AJ, Owusu-Sarpong S, Dhillon E, Krol O, Kummer NA, Tretiakov P, Imbo B, Joujon-Roche R, Moattari K, Lebovic J, Vira S, Diebo B, Smith JS, Park P, Mummaneni P, Shabani S, Chou D, Lafage R, Lafage V. The Clinical Impact of Failing to Achieve Ideal Proportional Realignment in Adult Spinal Deformity Patients. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2022 Feb 04.  View on PubMed
  7. Liu J, Xie R, Ruan H, Rivera J, Li B, Mahmood B, Lee J, Guizar R, Mahmoudieh Y, Mummaneni PV, Chou D. The Preoperative Cross-sectional Area of the Deep Cervical Extensor Muscles Does Not Predict Loss of Lordosis After Cervical Laminoplasty. Clin Spine Surg. 2022 02 01; 35(1):E181-E186.  View on PubMed
  8. Duan W, Zhang B, Li X, Chen W, Jia S, Xin Z, Jian Q, Jian F, Chou D, Chen Z. Single-cell transcriptome profiling reveals intra-tumoral heterogeneity in human chordomas. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2022 Jan 27.  View on PubMed
  9. Perera S, Hervey-Jumper SL, Mummaneni PV, Barthélemy EJ, Haddad AF, Marotta DA, Burke JF, Chan AK, Manley GT, Tarapore PE, Huang MC, Dhall SS, Chou D, Orrico KO, DiGiorgio AM. Do social determinants of health impact access to neurosurgical care in the United States? A workforce perspective. J Neurosurg. 2022 Jan 14; 1-10.  View on PubMed
  10. Duan PG, Mummaneni PV, Berven SH, Mayer R, Ruan HB, Chang CC, Chou D. Revision Surgery for Adjacent Segment Degeneration After Fusion for Lumbar Spondylolisthesis: Is there a Correlation with Roussouly Type? Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2022 Jan 01; 47(1):E10-E15.  View on PubMed
  11. Duan PG, Zhu XJ, Zhong YL, Li XL, Wang HW, Chou D, Yao HQ. Treatment of Benign C2 Tumors with Transoral Curettage and Posterior Instrumentation with Minimum 2-Year Follow-Up: Technical Note. Neurol India. 2022 Jan-Feb; 70(1):68-73.  View on PubMed
  12. Li B, Hawryluk G, Mummaneni PV, Wang M, Mehra R, Wang M, Lau D, Mayer R, Fu KM, Chou D. Utility of the MISDEF2 Algorithm and Extent of Fusion in Open Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery With Minimum 2-Year Follow-up. Neurospine. 2021 Dec; 18(4):824-832.  View on PubMed
  13. Shi L, Xue D, Wang Y, Chou D, Zhao Y, Zhang S, Zhang M, Wang L, Li P, Liu Y. Efficacy of a Lateral Mass Fusion Device Combined with a Three-Dimensional-Printed Model in the Treatment of Craniovertebral Junction Abnormalities. World Neurosurg. 2022 Mar; 159:e120-e129.  View on PubMed
  14. Letchuman V, Agarwal N, Mummaneni VP, Wang MY, Shabani S, Patel A, Rivera J, Haddad AF, Le V, Chang JM, Chou D, Gandhi S, Mummaneni PV. Awake spinal surgery: simplifying the learning curve with a patient selection algorithm. Neurosurg Focus. 2021 12; 51(6):E2.  View on PubMed
  15. Zirun Zhao, Saman Shabani, Nitin Agarwal, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Dean Chou. Intradural view of the spinal cord and dura after three-column osteotomy: illustrative case. J Neurosurg Case Lessons. 2021; 19(2):CASE21497.  View on PubMed
  16. Chan AK, Eastlack RK, Fessler RG, Than KD, Chou D, Fu KM, Park P, Wang MY, Kanter AS, Okonkwo DO, Nunley PD, Anand N, Uribe JS, Mundis GM, Bess S, Shaffrey CI, Le VP, Mummaneni PV, International Spine Study Group. Two- and three-year outcomes of minimally invasive and hybrid correction of adult spinal deformity. J Neurosurg Spine. 2022 Apr 01; 36(4):595-608.  View on PubMed
  17. Kuzmik GA, Wozny TA, Ammanuel S, Eichler CM, Mummaneni PV, Chou D. Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion From L2 to S1: 2-Dimensional Operative Video. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2021 10 13; 21(5):E438.  View on PubMed
  18. Lu AY, Blitstein JS, Talbott JF, Chan AK, Dhall SS, El Naga AN, Tan LA, Clark AJ, Chou D, Mummaneni PV, DiGiorgio AM. Single versus dual operative spine fractures in ankylosing spondylitis. Neurosurg Focus. 2021 10; 51(4):E6.  View on PubMed
  19. Chou D. Commentary on "Modified Global Alignment and Proportion Scoring With Body Mass Index and Bone Mineral Density Analysis in Global Alignment and Proportion Score of Each 3 Categories for Predicting Mechanical Complications After Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery". Neurospine. 2021 09; 18(3):492-494.  View on PubMed
  20. Pierce KE, Passias PG, Brown AE, Bortz CA, Alas H, Passfall L, Krol O, Kummer N, Lafage R, Chou D, Burton DC, Line B, Klineberg E, Hart R, Gum J, Daniels A, Hamilton K, Bess S, Protopsaltis T, Shaffrey C, Schwab FA, Smith JS, Lafage V, Ames C, International Spine Study Group (ISSG). Prioritization of Realignment Associated With Superior Clinical Outcomes for Cervical Deformity Patients. Neurospine. 2021 Sep; 18(3):506-514.  View on PubMed

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