Senior Fellow

Zarina Ali, MD, MS

  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery, Perelman School of Medicine

Zarina S. Ali, MD, MS is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Ali’s research focus is on the clinical and patient-reported outcomes of patients undergoing spine and peripheral nerve surgery. She is the founder and director of the Penn Neurosurgery Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program, the first comprehensive neurosurgical ERAS pathway nationally. The goal of this program is to optimize patients prior to, during, and after surgery in order to optimize surgical outcomes. To date, this program has included thousands of patients undergoing spinal and peripheral nerve surgery at Penn Medicine since 2017, making it one of the most robust quality improvement efforts within Penn Neurosurgery. Dr. Ali is the co-Principal Investigator of a Food and Drug Administration funded longitudinal project to analyze opioid consumption in patients undergoing spine and peripheral nerve surgery within her ERAS program. Her work has been featured in the neurosurgical and spinal surgical literature as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer. Dr. Ali additionally is co-investigator of a Department of Defense funded translational research program investigating nerve regeneration using tissue-engineered nerve grafts at the Perelman School of Medicine.

Dr. Ali treats all nervous system conditions, including spinal, cranial and extremity nerve disease. Her clinical interests include caring for patients with tumors, trauma, or compression of the brain, spine or nerves. Dr. Ali’s expertise involves the treatment of spinal stenosis, brain tumors, carpal tunnel syndrome, brachial plexus injuries, among other neurosurgical conditions. She also performs gamma knife radiosurgery for brain metastases and tumors.

Dr. Ali sees patients at the Penn Spine Center at Pennsylvania Hospital and at Penn Neurosurgery in Sewell, NJ. She speaks Spanish and Urdu and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Society for Peripheral Nerve. Dr. Ali received her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York. She completed both her residency in neurological surgery and fellowship in nerve surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

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