Our Faculty Patient Care Recognition

Pioneers in Robotic Surgery Reach Milestone 5000th Case


In the ever-evolving landscape of modern medicine, milestones are not merely markers of achievement; they are testament to the dedication, skill, and unwavering commitment of those who push the boundaries of what is possible.

Sam Bhayani, MD, and Robert S. Figenshau, MD, two stalwarts in the field of urology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have recently completed their 5000th robotic operation. This remarkable achievement underscores their profound impact on the advancement of robotic surgery.

“When we first started performing these surgeries in the early 2000s, we saw great promise in being able to cure cancers with this technology,” says Bhayani, who is the Robert K. Royce Distinguished Professor in Urologic Surgery. “We are grateful to our hospital partners and our patients for their support in our mission.”

Both Bhayani and Figenshau have long been recognized as pioneers in their field, with a combined expertise that spans decades. Their journey to this milestone has been characterized by innovation, excellence and an unwavering commitment to patient care. Specializing in robotic surgery for prostate and kidney cancer, they have developed new techniques that have been adopted throughout the world, and they have also trained scores of urologists in techniques which were developed in their practices. They have published scientific articles in many surgical journals on various aspects of robotic surgery to verify the safety, efficacy, and benefits of the technology and have played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of robotic surgery on a global scale.

Operating out of several prestigious medical institutions in the St. Louis area, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri Baptist Medical Center and the St. Louis John Cochran VA Medical Center, Bhayani and Figenshau have performed robotic surgery in a diverse array of settings, age groups, and urological conditions. Additionally, their expertise has extended to an international audience, as Bhayani and Figenshau have also taken their surgical skills on the road, performing surgeries in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.


“We continue to focus on improving the outcomes of urological care, while being able to perform these surgeries through the smallest of incisions,” says Figenshau, who is the Taylor Family and Ralph V. Clayman Chair in Minimally Invasive Urology. “As robotic technology has evolved, we continue to be excited for the future of the field.”

Bhayani, who also serves as vice chair for clinical operations in the Department of Surgery and chief medical officer of Washington University Physicians, added, “It is clear that the 5000 operations are not the end of the journey, but merely the beginning.”