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Rahul Bhalla, M.D.-- Appointed Director of Robotic & Minimally Invasive Surgery at SBUMC



Dr. Rahuldev Bhalla Returns to SBUMC to Build a World-Class Robotics Program.

STONY BROOK, N.Y., September 5, 2007 – Rahuldev (Rahul) Bhalla, M.D., a urologist and specialist in minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery, has been named Director of Minimally Invasive Urology at Stony Brook University Medical Center, effective September 1. Appointed by Richard N. Fine, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Bhalla will head the effort to build a world-class robotics surgery program at SBUMC.

Dr. Bhalla comes to Stony Brook from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, where he started a robotic surgery program in 2004 and trained approximately 15 surgeons in robotic surgery. He returns to SBUMC, where he spent six years and completed residencies in Surgery and Urology.

Dr. Bhalla’s appointment at Stony Brook coincides with the SBUMC acquisition of the da Vinci® S HD™ Surgical System, a state-of-the-art robotic-assisted system that heightens surgeons’ abilities to perform minimally invasive surgery. The advantages of minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgery include significantly less pain, significantly reduced blood loss, less scarring, shorter recovery times, a faster return to normal daily activities, and in many cases, better clinical outcomes.

The da Vinci robot, a $2.5 million investment, incorporates endoscopy with high magnification and maneuverability that extends the surgeon’s viewing field during surgical procedures. SBUMC is the only institution on Long Island and New York City to have the most technically advanced model, the da Vinci® S HD™ Surgical System, in clinical practice. As a specialist in minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr. Bhalla uses the da Vinci robot to perform radical prostatectomies and other complex and delicate urological procedures.

“Dr. Bhalla is a leader in robotic surgery, and his expertise is crucial to establishing and building a robotics surgery program at Stony Brook that will bring minimally invasive surgery to new heights,” says Dr. Fine. “Dr. Bhalla’s experience with the da Vinci robot will lead to training a new generation of physicians to use the high-tech system.”

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Bhalla return to our department,” adds Wayne Waltzer, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Urology. “Because he is a specialist in laparoscopy and robotics and performs all types of minimally invasive urologic procedures, Dr. Bhalla strengthens the realm of surgical options we can offer patients.”

“In the field of medicine, the motto ‘first do no harm’ is reinforced at every turn, and minimally invasive and robotic surgery bring us closer to that goal,” says Dr. Bhalla. “Here we have the ability to cure cancer with very little side effects and the quality of life for most individuals is unchanged after six months.”

“Our goal at Stony Brook is to build a world-class robotics program,” says Steven L. Strongwater, M.D., CEO of SBUMC. “We already have a great deal of interest from other services such as cardiothoracic surgery and gynecologic surgery. Under Dr. Bhalla’s tutelage, the robotic surgery program will expand to benefit many of our patients.”

Dr. Bhalla received his M.D. degree from Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He completed his residencies in Urology and Surgery at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in Robotics, Laparoscopic & Oncologic Surgery at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.

Born in India and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Bhalla currently lives in Setauket, N.Y., with his wife, Jigna, a doctoral pharmacist, and two daughters Shreya (6) and Riya (3).

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