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Michael Stifelman


Join us in this episode as we dive into the fascinating world of robotic surgery with renowned expert, Michael D. Stifelman MD. Learn about the revolutionary developments in this field, the impact across medical disciplines, and the future of this technology.

AND learn about his upcoming drumming gig with our violin-playing co-host Rachel Martens. Docs that Rock Benefit Concert! Ticket information is here.


Dr. Michael D. Stifelman is a renowned urologist and robotic surgery pioneer, currently serving as Chair of Urology at Hackensack University Medical Center and Director of Robotic Surgery at Hackensack Meridian Health. His extensive career includes over 4,000 robotic procedures and multiple minimally invasive surgical innovations. Dr. Stifelman’s global influence as an invited lecturer and active role in professional organizations underscore his expertise in urology and surgical advancements. And if that is not enough he is also the drummer in our co-host Rachel Marten’s band!


[00:01:58] Robotic surgery at cocktail parties- fun!
[00:06:15] Urologist rock band gig. (see link above)
[00:08:03] Clean catch explained.
[00:11:50] Humpback whale mating behavior.
[00:16:41] Urology and sense of humor.
[00:19:01] Urologist’s office embarrassment.
[00:23:28] Minimally invasive robotic surgery.
[00:27:23] Robotics revolution in healthcare.
[00:31:28] Alleviating surgeon hand tremors.
[00:35:55] Teaching remotely in real-time.
[00:40:02] AI and common sense.
[00:43:42] The role of the surgical assistant.
[00:46:56] Keeping the camera clean.
[00:49:42] Robotics for the win.




Watch These Videos to See the Robots in Action and Learn More!
2023 Hackensack University Medical Center AUA Urology
Single-Incision Robotics

NJ Shout Out
Ringwood State Park

Michael D. Stifelman MD Interview Summary

(00:00) Interview With Michael D. Stifelman MD

We chat with Michael D. Stifelman MD, a renowned robotic surgery expert, chair of urology, and founding chair of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. His impressive career accomplishments and long-time friendship with Rachel are discussed. We also get to know Michael more personally by learning about his passion for music. We discuss their upcoming gig and how they got together. All of this and more in this exciting conversation with Michael D. Stifelman MD!

(13:44) Summer Experience With a Surgeon

Michael D. Stifelman MD shares his experience as a thoracic surgeon, his journey from pre-med to urology, and why people are drawn to this field of medicine. We discuss the importance of having a sense of humor and compassion when treating patients, and the funny and sometimes embarrassing stories that come with being a urologist.

(18:43) Robotic Surgery Advancements at Hackensack Hospital

Michael D. Stifelman MD explains the technology behind robotics and how it has revolutionized the way surgeries are performed. He provides a case study to demonstrate the difference between a procedure performed 25 years ago versus one performed today, and the resulting outcomes for the patient. Robotics has enabled operations to be performed with just a single incision, resulting in faster recovery times and fewer risks of infection. The incredible advancements of robotic surgery in the field of urology and the impact this has had on patient care are discussed.

(27:18) Surgical Robotics Advancements and Applications

We talk to Michael D. Stifelman MD about the growing use of robots in surgeries. He shares the impact of robotics on service lines, including Urology, GYN, General Surgery, Colorectal Surgery, ENT, and Cardiac Surgery, and how it is used in an outpatient setting. Michael also talks about the haptic feedback of robots and why it’s important for younger and less experienced surgeons. He explains how the console where the surgeon has to sit away from the patient was designed to get the high fidelity 3D view 25 years ago, and how it has become one of the most advantageous parts of robotics.

(39:28) The Future of Robotic Surgery

We explore the use of robotics in surgeries and how it can help eliminate conscious and unconscious biases. We also discuss the limitations of AI, such as its inability to provide common sense solutions, and how a repository of expert surgeons can provide context for decision-making. Finally, we compare traditional surgery and robotic surgery, such as the lack of a frenetic atmosphere and the presence of music in the operating room.

(46:45) DaVinci Machine, Insurance, and Favorite Things

Michael D. Stifelman MD shares his insights on the complexities of robotic surgery and why it is beneficial. We discuss how it can reduce the risk of infection, decreases the amount of time spent in the hospital, and reduces the risk of complications. We also talk about the cost of robotic surgery and how it is not necessarily more expensive than traditional surgery. Finally, Michael shares his love for New Jersey and his favorite places to go.

(51:51) Benefits of Living in Jersey

Rachel and Janette share their experiences of moving from Long Island to New Jersey. Unique activities and close proximity to the city are some of the advantages of living in New Jersey. We remind you to follow us on social media and to share this podcast episode with your friends and family.


Keywords: Robotic Surgery, Michael D. Stifelman MD, Urology, Compassionate Care, Deb Firmware, Hackensack Hospital, Gynecology, General Surgery, ENT, Cardiac Surgery, AI Limitations, Repository of Expert Surgeons, Traditional Surgery, Robotic Surgery Cost, New Jersey, Long Island, Social Media


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