Dr. Michael Stifelman Receives Crystal Award for His Pioneering Work in Robotic Urologic Surgery

AwardDr. Michael Stifelman, Associate Professor of Urology and Director of Robotic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, has been named the 2011 recipient of the Crystal Award, given by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., to surgeons who have contributed significantly to the advancement of clinical knowledge in the field of robot-assisted surgery. The company, which manufactures the da Vinci Si robotic surgical system, gave the award to Dr. Stifelman in a ceremony at its annual meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

In presenting the award, the company cited Dr. Stifelman’s ground-breaking work in robotic urologic surgery, including robotic adrenal surgery, robotic kidney surgery, and robotic ureteral surgery. An internationally-known leader in his field, Dr. Stifelman has helped pioneer robot-assisted techniques for numerous urologic procedures, including partial nephrectomy for kidney cancer—in which only the tumor is excised from the diseased kidney, leaving the rest of the kidney intact—procedures to reconstruct the urinary tract, including robotic pyeloplasty and robotic ureterolysis (an operation that Dr. Stifelman has performed more often than any other surgeon in the world), and partial adrenalectomy, in which an adrenal tumor is removed while preserving the rest of the adrenal gland.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by Intuitive Surgical as a leader in developing, validating and refining these robotic procedures,” said Dr. Stifelman. “Intuitive’s computer-assisted robotic technology is revolutionizing the way we perform surgery today. As we continue to come up with innovative surgical techniques, we’re finding that robotic surgery, besides offering a highly effective minimally-invasive approach, is often better than other modes of surgery for treating many conditions.”

In addition to accepting the award, Dr. Stifelman gave a presentation to the Boca Raton gathering on the latest robotic surgical techniques being employed for various urologic procedures. “The precise, tremor-free movements that surgeons can make using the da Vinci Si robot are ideally suited to operating on delicate structures like the ureter, which is a tube just one-quarter inch in diameter,” he explained. At the same time, Dr. Stifelman added, “we’ve also come to realize that robotic surgery can be used to achieve excellent outcomes throughout the body, by many different specialties and sub-specialties.” At NYU Langone’s Robotic Surgery Center, he noted, two da Vinci Si robots are now being employed by surgeons in a range of specialties for a growing number of procedures, including surgery to treat benign and malignant gynecologic conditions as well as colorectal cancer and cancers of the liver, bile duct and pancreas, and cardiothoracic procedures like robotic mitral valve repair and robot-assisted coronary bypass.

“The advantages offered by the da Vinci Si, including its superior precision and visualization, are enabling us to do things we’ve never done before,” said Dr. Stifelman. “It’s an exciting time for robotic surgery.”