Adib A. Abla MD

Adib Abla, MD

Chief of Vascular Neurosurgery

Director, Cerebrovascular Surgical Disorders Program

Tong-Po Kan Chair in Neurological Surgery

Associate Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery

Director, Vascular Neurosurgery Fellowship Program


Dr. Abla is Chief of Vascular Neurosurgery at UCSF. A vascular and endovascular neurosurgeon, he specializes in the treatment of brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations and fistulae (AVM and AVF), cavernous malformations, stroke, and carotid artery disease. He treats both adult and pediatric patients. Dr. Abla is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.  

He performs both surgical and endovascular treatment of aneurysms (clipping, coil embolization, flow diversion stent, bypass), AVMs (embolization and surgical resection), and carotid disease (endarterectomy and stenting) allowing for an unbiased approach to complex cerebrovascular disease entities. This also allows him to offer patients a comprehensive set of treatment modalities (both open and endo) for their cerebrovascular disease, including the ability to perform the patients pre-treatment and followup angiography regardless of the treatment chosen.

He was most recently the director of cerebrovascular surgery at the University of Arkansas where he practiced vascular and endovascular neurosurgery for the past 3 years and created a centralized Hemorrhagic Stroke Telenetwork for statewide and regional referrals of vascular pathologies, resulting in expedited specialty care.

He has over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals mainly on vascular and endovascular neurosurgery topics including publications on cerebrovascular surgical techniques and given over 50 international, national, or regional invited presentations, mainly on vascular and endovascular neurosurgery topics.

Dr. Abla's research interests include collaborative translational research in computational fluid dynamic modeling of brain aneurysms and use of either surgical bypass or endovascular flow diversion. Other research interests include clinical outcomes research in cerebrovascular surgery, vascular neurosurgery surgical anatomy and approaches, and the applications of combined open surgical and endovascular treatments. He is also involved in clinical research studies of novel bypasses and endovascular treatments for presently uncurable fusiform aneurysms of the basilar artery and clinical research involving potential minimally invasive treatments for hypertensive hemorrhages.

Education, Training, and Previous Positions

BSE, Duke University
MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Residency, Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute
Fellow, Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute
Fellow, Open Vascular Neurosurgery, Department of Neurological Surgery, UCSF
Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery, University of Arkansas Medical Center

Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments

American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)

Selected Honors and Awards

1997: Tandy Technology Scholar
1997: Bausch & Lomb Scholarship Award
2002: Cum Laude Graduate, Duke University
2005: Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society Induction, University of Pittsburgh
2010: CNS ev3 Neurovascular Research Fellowship, Congress of Neurological Surgeons
2011: Tournament Most Valuable Player 8th Annual Columbia / Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament

Selected Recent Publications

Ozpinar A, Mendez G, Abla AA. Epidemiology, genetics, pathophysiology, and prognostic classifications of cerebral arteriovenous malformations. Handb Clin Neurol. 2017;143:5-13. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63640-9.00001-1. PubMed PMID: 28552158.

Zaidi HA, Mooney MA, Levitt MR, Dru AB, Abla AA, Spetzler RF. Impact of Timing of Intervention Among 397 Consecutively Treated Brainstem Cavernous Malformations. Neurosurgery. 2017 Feb 10. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyw139. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28184444.

Lieber BA, Henry JK, Agarwal N, Day JD, Morris TW 3rd, Stephens ML, Abla AA. Impact of Surgical Specialty on Outcomes Following Carotid Endarterectomy. Neurosurgery. 2017 Feb 1;80(2):217-225. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyw027. PubMed PMID: 28175918.

Williamson RW, Abla AA, Zabramski JM, Nakaji P, Spetzler RF, Wanebo JE. Revascularization of Moyamoya Angiopathy in Older Adults. World Neurosurg. 2017 Mar;99:37-40. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.11.073. Epub 2016 Nov 24. PubMed PMID: 27890765.

Vali A, Abla AA, Lawton MT, Saloner D, Rayz VL. Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling of contrast transport in basilar aneurysms following flow-altering surgeries. J Biomech. 2017 Jan 4;50:195-201. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.11.028. Epub 2016 Nov 11. PubMed PMID: 27890537; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5253072.

Lawton MT, Abla AA, Rutledge WC, Benet A, Zador Z, Rayz VL, Saloner D, Halbach VV. Bypass Surgery for the Treatment of Dolichoectatic Basilar Trunk Aneurysms: A Work in Progress. Neurosurgery. 2016 Jul;79(1):83-99. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000001175. PubMed PMID: 26671632; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4956413.

Abla AA, McDougall CM, Breshears JD, Lawton MT. Intracranial-to-intracranial bypass for posterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysms: options, technical challenges, and results in 35 patients. J Neurosurg. 2016 May;124(5):1275-86. doi: 10.3171/2015.5.JNS15368. Epub 2015 Nov 13. PubMed PMID: 26566199.

Benet A, Plata-Bello J, Abla AA, Acevedo-Bolton G, Saloner D, Lawton MT. Implantation of 3D-Printed Patient-Specific Aneurysm Models into Cadaveric Specimens: A New Training Paradigm to Allow for Improvements in Cerebrovascular Surgery and Research. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:939387. doi: 10.1155/2015/939387. Epub 2015 Oct 11. PubMed PMID: 26539542; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4619899.

Limaye K, Abla AA. We Will Use Antiplatelets As Our First Choice for Prevention of Stroke Recurrence in Cervical Arterial Dissection After Reading CADISS--Will You? World Neurosurg. 2015 Nov;84(5):1182-4. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.09.012. Epub 2015 Sep 12. PubMed PMID: 26376201.

Han SJ, Rutledge WC, Englot DJ, Winkler EA, Browne JL, Pflugrath L, Cronsier D, Abla AA, Kliot M, Lawton MT. The Presto 1000: A novel automated transcranial Doppler ultrasound system. J Clin Neurosci. 2015 Nov;22(11):1771-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2015.05.026. Epub 2015 Jul 31. PubMed PMID: 26238693; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5240787.

Lawton MT, Abla AA. In Reply: Silent Arteriovenous Malformation Hemorrhage and the Recognition of "Unruptured" Arteriovenous Malformation Patients Who Benefit From Surgical Intervention. Neurosurgery. 2015 Nov;77(5):E843-4. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000912. PubMed PMID: 26200773.

Abla AA, Lawton MT. Predictors of Complications with Unruptured Middle Cerebral Artery Aneurysm Clipping in a Surgically Treated Series of 416 Patients: A Clip First Approach Is Still Best. World Neurosurg. 2015 Oct;84(4):884-5. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.06.013. Epub 2015 Jun 17. PubMed PMID: 26092531.

Abla AA. Contralateral Transcallosal Transchoroidal Fissure Clipping-Excision of a Ruptured Third-Ventricle Aneurysm and Thalamic Arteriovenous Malformation Resection: 3-Dimensional Operative Video. Neurosurgery. 2015 Sep;11 Suppl 3:466; discussion 466. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000844. PubMed PMID: 26087005.

Williamson RW, Wilson DA, Abla AA, McDougall CG, Nakaji P, Albuquerque FC, Spetzler RF. Clinical characteristics and long-term outcomes in patients with ruptured posterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysms: a comparative analysis. J Neurosurg. 2015 Aug;123(2):441-5. doi: 10.3171/2014.10.JNS141079. Epub 2015 Apr 17. PubMed PMID: 25884260.

Abla AA, Lawton MT. Variability in Endovascular Treatment of Delayed Cerebral Ischemia and Vasospasm in Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. World Neurosurg. 2015 Sep;84(3):625-6. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 Apr 13. PubMed PMID: 25882794.

Abla AA, Spetzler RF. Response. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2015 Mar;15(3):339. PubMed PMID: 25879109.

Gandhi GK, Abla AA. Three Randomized Controlled Trials Confirm the Benefits of Mechanical Endovascular Therapy in Acute Ischemic Stroke. World Neurosurg. 2015 Jun;83(6):946-8. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.03.040. Epub 2015 Mar 30. PubMed PMID: 25836271.

Abla AA, Nelson J, Kim H, Hess CP, Tihan T, Lawton MT. Silent arteriovenous malformation hemorrhage and the recognition of "unruptured" arteriovenous malformation patients who benefit from surgical intervention. Neurosurgery. 2015 May;76(5):592-600; discussion 600. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000686. PubMed PMID: 25714514; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4425306.

Potts MB, Lau D, Abla AA, Kim H, Young WL, Lawton MT; UCSF Brain AVM Study Project.. Current surgical results with low-grade brain arteriovenous malformations. J Neurosurg. 2015 Apr;122(4):912-20. doi: 10.3171/2014.12.JNS14938. Epub 2015 Feb 6. PubMed PMID: 25658789; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4422639.

Uschold T, Abla AA, Wilson DA, McDougall CG, Nakaji P. Intradural vertebral endarterectomy with nonautologous patch angioplasty for refractory vertebrobasilar ischemia: Case report and literature review. Surg Neurol Int. 2014 Nov 29;5:166. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.145927. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25558424; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4278098.

Abla AA, Rutledge WC, Seymour ZA, Guo D, Kim H, Gupta N, Sneed PK, Barani IJ, Larson D, McDermott MW, Lawton MT. A treatment paradigm for high-grade brain arteriovenous malformations: volume-staged radiosurgical downgrading followed by microsurgical resection. J Neurosurg. 2015 Feb;122(2):419-32. doi: 10.3171/2014.10.JNS1424. Epub 2014 Nov 28. PubMed PMID: 25423274.

Kim H, Abla AA, Nelson J, McCulloch CE, Bervini D, Morgan MK, Stapleton C, Walcott BP, Ogilvy CS, Spetzler RF, Lawton MT. Validation of the supplemented Spetzler-Martin grading system for brain arteriovenous malformations in a multicenter cohort of 1009 surgical patients. Neurosurgery. 2015 Jan;76(1):25-31; discussion 31-2; quiz 32-3. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000556. PubMed PMID: 25251197; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4270816.

Osorio JA, Benet A, Hess CP, McDermott MW, Abla AA. Primary vertebral artery reanastomosis during retrosigmoid skull base approach following iatrogenic near-transection with monopolar electrocautery. Neurosurgery. 2014 Dec;10 Suppl 4:631-9. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000526. PubMed PMID: 25181436.

Rutledge WC, Abla AA, Nelson J, Halbach VV, Kim H, Lawton MT. Treatment and outcomes of ARUBA-eligible patients with unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations at a single institution. Neurosurg Focus. 2014 Sep;37(3):E8. doi: 10.3171/2014.7.FOCUS14242. PubMed PMID: 25175446; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4420142.

Abla AA, Nelson J, Rutledge WC, Young WL, Kim H, Lawton MT. The natural history of AVM hemorrhage in the posterior fossa: comparison of hematoma volumes and neurological outcomes in patients with ruptured infra- and supratentorial AVMs. Neurosurg Focus. 2014 Sep;37(3):E6. doi: 10.3171/2014.7.FOCUS14211. PubMed PMID: 25175444; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4425310.

Abla AA, Lawton MT. Editorial: Prenidal aneurysm rupture with posterior fossa AVMs. Neurosurg Focus. 2014 Sep;37(3):E5. doi: 10.3171/2014.6.FOCUS14380. PubMed PMID: 25175443.

Abla AA, Lawton MT. Indocyanine green angiography for cerebral aneurysm surgery: advantages, limitations, and neurosurgeon intuition. World Neurosurg. 2014 Nov;82(5):e585-6. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2014.08.019. Epub 2014 Aug 18. PubMed PMID: 25153292.

Abla AA, Lawton MT. The superficial temporal artery trunk-to-M2 middle cerebral artery bypass with short radial artery interposition graft: the forgotten bypass. World Neurosurg. 2015 Feb;83(2):145-6. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2014.08.027. Epub 2014 Aug 19. PubMed PMID: 25153288.

Abla AA, Lawton MT. Revascularization for unclippable posterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysms: extracranial-intracranial or intracranial-intracranial bypass? World Neurosurg. 2014 Nov;82(5):586-8. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2014.08.032. Epub 2014 Aug 19. PubMed PMID: 25150208.

Albuquerque FC, Park MS, Abla AA, Crowley RW, Ducruet AF, McDougall CG. A reappraisal of the Pipeline embolization device for the treatment of posterior circulation aneurysms. J Neurointerv Surg. 2015 Sep;7(9):641-5. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2014-011340. Epub 2014 Aug 4. PubMed PMID: 25092926.

Park MS, Albuquerque FC, Nanaszko M, Sanborn MR, Moon K, Abla AA, McDougall CG. Critical assessment of complications associated with use of the Pipeline Embolization Device. J Neurointerv Surg. 2015 Sep;7(9):652-9. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2014-011265. Epub 2014 Jun 26. PubMed PMID: 24968879.

Abla AA, Lawton MT. Current treatment strategies for cavernous internal carotid artery aneurysms. World Neurosurg. 2014 Dec;82(6):994-5. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2014.06.032. Epub 2014 Jun 17. PubMed PMID: 24954253.