Ali Savas
  1. Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey E-mail:


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How to cite this article: Savas A. Yucel Kanpolat, MD (1941–2016). Surg Neurol Int 20-Dec-2016;7:107

How to cite this URL: Savas A. Yucel Kanpolat, MD (1941–2016). Surg Neurol Int 20-Dec-2016;7:107. Available from:

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Yucel Kanpolat (1941–2016)


Professor Kanpolat, one of the most prominent neurosurgeons in the field of pain surgery, passed away on September 17th, 2016.

Dr. Kanpolat was born in 1941 in Sivas, Turkey. He graduated from Gazi High School, Ankara in 1959. He then attended Ankara University, School of Medicine, and obtained his medical degree in 1965. He worked as a practitioner during his public health service between 1965 and 1968 in Diyarbakir, where he won the World Health Organization's (WHO) “Best Public Health Service Unit Award” with his colleagues in 1966. He became a resident assistant at the Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara University during 1968–1973. The next year, Dr. Kanpolat served as the chief of Haydarpasa Military Hospital's Neurosurgical Department during his military service between 1974 and 1975 in Istanbul.

Dr. Kanpolat became an assistant professor at the Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara University in 1975. He subsequently got promoted to associate professor and professor at the same institute in 1978 and 1988, respectively. He served as the chairman of the Neurosurgery Department, Ankara University between 1999 and 2008. Dr. Kanpolat trained more than 100 neurosurgical residents until his retirement in 2008. He was elected and appointed as the president of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) following his retirement from Ankara University, where he served until 2012. Moreover, he became the charter member of the Turkish Neurosurgical Society in 1985 and served as the president of the society twice, first in 1990–1991 and then in 1995–1996. Furthermore, Dr. Kanpolat received the Paxton International Professorship from Oregon Health Sciences University (USA) in 2006.

He practiced CT-guided stereotactic pain surgery for the first time worldwide in 1986. He undertook numerous academic studies in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery. Dr. Kanpolat made several presentations in international congresses, while he made publications in neurosurgical journals. He was invited as a key speaker to many national and international congresses to give lectures. On every occasion and manner, Dr. Kanpolat trained numerous neurosurgeons from Turkey and abroad throughout his career. Those instances include the Kanpolat Cordotomy Kit (KCTE), which was produced in Burlington, Boston USA in 1994, as well as, a total of 176 international publications referred in Index Medicus (1869 citations as of 13.11.2015), 92 globally invited lectures, and 48 presentations in international congresses.

Dr. Kanpolat had memberships, presidencies, and chairmanships in many neurosurgical communities. He was an active and emblematic member of various international societies such as European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) and European Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (ESSFN). He served as both officer and executive member in all of them. Dr. Kanpolat organized ESSFN-Congress in Antalya in 1994.

His legacy as a continuous contributor to scientific education has been remarkable, especially during his presidency in the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA). Dr. Kanpolat has endeavored to practice “La main à la pâte” in pilot schools. The objective of this TUBA program was to promote the education of science among children in Turkey via game playing. Dr. Kanpolat collaborated with valuable teachers during this project. He arranged the training of 20 teachers from Turkey in Paris, France whereas Georges Charpak, Nobel laureate for Physics in 1992, Pierre Léna, and Yves Quéré took part in this project in Turkey as important contributors. During the presidency of Prof. Kanpolat in TUBA, Open Courseware Project was continued. Commenced in 2007, 80 lectures on Basic Sciences and Social Sciences were put together within this framework under Dr. Kanpolat's presidency between 2010 and 2011. Dr. Kanpolat also contributed on humanitarian issues where the need was most dire. He and two members of TUBA went to Afghanistan in 2004 on a voluntary project. There they observed the most pressing humanitarian problems, and prepared a report which the visiting team published it on Surgical Neurology with the title “Is there a common consciousness of humanity? Should there be one?”

Apart from numerous academic conferences, he gave so many lectures on lives and disciplines of Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur, Ramon Cajal, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc., in many cities and countries. He also gave a Marie Curie lecture entitled “A Woman of Wisdom in the Science Age-Maria Skłodovska Curie,” in the Pomeranian Academy of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery, on May 9th of 2003, in Szczecin, Poland. He advised young neurosurgeons, neurosurgeons, and other audiences to listen, write, read, ask, and work hard in all his conferences, lessons, and presentations.

Dr. Kanpolat and his work, especially in the surgical treatment of pain, inspired many neurosurgeons all over the world. He grandly supported a course in therapeutic action which ultimately benefited his patients. As an influential neurosurgeon, he often organized regular local or international training courses, giving lectures, offered fellowship programs that he designed to realize his vision in the surgery and treatment of pain. Dr. Kanpolat did not ignore the social aspect of leadership either. He was always accessible to students, academicians, and visitors in a warm and hospitable manner. At all stages of his professional career, Dr. Kanpolat was a highly regarded neurosurgeon and a very productive tutor.

We will all hold in our memories forever his friendly and kind nature, his passion for knowledge, as well as scientific progression. We have witnessed the passing of a thoroughly outstanding neurosurgeon, academician, mentor, and friend, who contributed a lot to the neurosurgical societies, neurosurgeons, and neurosurgery. He will be missed by many people for a lot of reasons. It is my distinct honor to recollect him in an obituary in an issue of the Surgical Neurology International.

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