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Robert Poston, M.D.,

Robert Poston, M.D., F.A.C.S

Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Department of Surgery


Tel: (718) 270-1981 | Fax: (718) 270-3843

e-mail: robert.poston@downstate.edu



Heart surgery effectively reverses many problems that have the potential to affect a patientís survival and quality of life. From the patientís perspective, the main problem with surgery is that it often requires morbid incisions and other procedures that drive a long recovery time. Many patients that require heart surgery have other illnesses and diseases that accompany their heart problems, so having to undergo a lengthy recovery in addition to managing this other issues can be very challenging. Reducing the burden of a long recovery time was the primary reason why pioneering surgeons like Dr. Robert Poston, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Downstate, first started to develop less invasive operations in the early 2000ís.

Dr. Poston has focused the past 16 years on robotic, less invasive surgery, specifically using the robot for coronary bypass and mitral repair and aortic valve replacement via a minithoracotomy. His research has demonstrated that these techniques are highly favored by patients and their referring providers because they yield reduced morbidity of surgery with the same long term benefits seen with conventional surgery. However, he has also identified that teamwork is often the missing ingredient needed for robotic heart surgery to be safe and effective. Most surgeons recognize that teamwork and communication are important in surgery but there is widespread misunderstanding of what this exactly entails. This is why so few cardiac surgery programs have mastered robotic heart surgery despite significant interest among surgeons.

Dr. Poston’s extensive leadership experience –10 years as a chief of different CT surgery programs – provided a deep appreciation for the role of excellent teamwork and communication as the cornerstone of good surgical outcomes.  This is true for all surgery, but particularly true for complex procedures like minimally invasive heart surgery.   Without great teamwork, surgical proficiency evolves slowly during a long and potentially dangerous period called the “learning curve”.  In contrast, Dr. Poston works hard to develop high performance teams that actively learn from their training, which can significantly shorten the early phase of team development.  He does this primarily by fostering psychological safety among team members, meaning there is a trust that team members can speak out about problems without fear of retribution.  This culture of safety requires a leader with high level managerial skills, something that can only come from extensive experience leading teams.


Patient Appointments

Please call 718-270-1981 to schedule an appointment. Most insurances are accepted.
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