Founded five years ago, the hospital's robotic surgery program has an international reputation. In 2009, the world's first robotic-assisted kidney transplant was performed at the hospital, and in 2007 two urologists and a general surgeon performed the state's first robotic bladder creation surgery, a procedure that involved removal of the bladder and prostate and then used the robotic system to create a new bladder from a section of the intestine.
Patients travel from states as far away as Florida and California, and even internationally, for the most advanced procedures from the hospital's surgeons, who operate using the da Vinci robotic surgery system.
Michael D. LaSalle, MD, is a urologist who specializes in impotence, infertility, and microsurgeries but has a passion for robotic surgery and educating the community about this technology.
"We've done physician presentations before for community education, like question and answer sessions, but I thought although it's a pretty pricey piece of equipment, wouldn't it be great to put it on display—No. 1, so people could understand the technology; No. 2, so they know we offer this service at Saint Barnabas; but more importantly, to let the community interact with it," says LaSalle.
When he approached the marketing department, the hospital already had an ongoing promotional relationship with The Mall at Short Hills, the third most productive retail center in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The average household income within three miles of the mall, which is also Saint Barnabas' local patient population, is $169,135.