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Maimonides embracing surgery-performing robots

April 17, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dr. David Silver, director of Urologic Oncology, is in the Robotic Operating Room Suite. Photo courtesy Maimonides Medical Center
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Baby Boomers all remember “The Jetsons,” a jazzy cartoon series they watched as kids in the early-1960s about George Jetson, his wife Jane and their two children living in a futuristic society. The family’s maid, Rosie, was a sassy robot. At Maimonides Medical Center, they don’t have robot maids, but robots are coming in handy in the operating room.

Keeping with the hospital’s philosophy of performing minimally invasive surgery, Maimonides Medical Center is embracing surgical robotics in the OR. The hospital is located at 4802 10th Ave.

“We perform surgery in the least invasive way possible, because research shows it provides multiple advantages for the patient. And we have some of the most experienced robotic surgeons in New York right here at Maimonides,” said Dr. Patrick Borgen, chairman of surgery.

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Don’t worry about robots taking over the OR. The robots are only there to assist the surgeons.

The way robotic surgery works is that the surgeon sits at a console and moves the robotic arms remotely. The system allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be scaled and translated into precise movements of micro-instruments within the operation site.

The technology used in robotic surgery is superior, according to hospital officials, because it provides surgeons with better visualization of the area to be operated on. It also allows for the use of tools that are too small to be wielded by a human hand. Robots improve the safety and precision of surgical procedures, officials said. 

“Using the robotic arms, we start with tiny incisions, and operate with greater precision and control. This allows us to skillfully avoid delicate areas and improves clinical outcomes,” said Dr. David Silver, director of urologic oncology one of the nation’s first urologists to perform a robotic prostatectomy.

Patients seem to like it, doctors said.

“Many of my patients first hear about robotic surgery from friends who had excellent experiences. Smaller incisions, shorter recovery time – everyone is happier with the outcome,” said Dr. Pedram Bral of gynecologic surgery.

Dr. Anna Serur, of colorectal surgery, said patients are usually relieved when they learn the facts about robotic surgery.

“My patients are delighted to learn that the robotic system cannot be programmed to act on its own, nor can it make decisions. Every surgical maneuver requires direct input from the surgeon,” she said.

“And only specially-trained and highly experienced surgeons work with the robotic surgery system at Maimonides,” added Dr. Igor Brichkov of thoracic surgery. “Many of our patients come here precisely because we were the first and remain the most experienced robotic surgery program in Brooklyn.”

Robotic Surgery is offered in multiple surgical specialty areas at Maimonides, including: colorectal, gynecologic, hepato-biliary, thoracic and urologic. To make an appointment with one of the hospital’s Robotic Surgery Teams, call 718-SURGERY.

Maimonides Medical Center, one of the largest independent teaching hospitals in the country, has 711 beds and over 70 subspecialty programs. For more information, visit


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