He was born in Craiova, the son of a priest, Dimitrie Constantin Gerota (b. 1841), and of Maria Gerota, née Surpăteanu (b. 1847). He studied at the Carol I High School in Craiova. In 1886, he entered the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Bucharest, graduating with an M.D. degree in 1892. For four years, he pursued his studies in Paris in Berlin. After returning to Bucharest, he started practicing medicine and teaching at various institutions.
Starting in October 1897, he taught anatomy at the National School of Fine Arts in Bucharest. In Fall,1898, he and his student Constantin Brâncuși produced the carved muscles anatomical study entitled the Ecorché, based on research done in the dissection room of the Faculty of Medicine and the Museum of Comparative Anatomy. In May 1903, the flayed study was exhibited at the Romanian Athenaeum; the Society of Students of Fine Arts petitioned Spiru Haret, the minister of Education and Culture, to acquire it. Since then, generations of Romanian art and medical students have studied anatomy from plaster casts made from the Ecorché.
Considered to be the first Romanian radiologist, Gerota initiated academic radiology education in that country. In 1898, he wrote the book '"The Röntgen Rays or the X-Rays". Some years later, he had to abandon radiology because of radiodermatitis of the hand, which required amputation.
In 1909, he established a sanatorium, where he practiced surgery, and carried out charitable work. From 1913, he was a professor of surgical anatomy and experimental surgery at the University of Bucharest.
In November 1935, he submitted the article "Monarhie cu camarilă sau republică" to the newspaper Universul. The article, highly critical of King Carol II, was censored, and Gerota was arrested and sent to Malmaison prison in Bucharest. After protests by medical students, he was liberated four days later. He was arrested again in 1936, and sent to Jilava prison. Set free, he died in 1939 in Bucharest.
The renal fascia is sometimes called Gerota's fascia or Gerota's capsule after him. Also, the Albarran-Ormond syndrome (an inflammatory retroperitoneal fibrosis, named after urologists Joaquín Albarrán and John Kelso Ormond) is also known as Gerota’s syndrome or Gerota’s fasciitis.
He was a famed surgeon and the founder of a large Bucharest emergency-care hospital, now named the "Prof. Dr. Dimitrie Gerota Military Hospital", as well as a museum of anatomical-surgical casts of his creation.
A street in central Bucharest (formerly Jean Louis Calderon Street) now bears his name.
- Barbu Brezianu, "The Beginnings of Brâncuși" (translated by Sidney Geist), The Art Journal, vol. 25, no. 1 (1965), 15–25. doi:10.2307/774863
- Morton A. Meyers, "Dynamic Radiology of the Abdomen: normal and pathologic anatomy", Springer-Verlag, New York, 2000. ISBN 0-387-98845-9