What People Say
In 2011, I was 47 years old, happily married with four young kids and busy operating my own fitness business.
One night I woke up from a sound sleep, itching. Over the next few weeks, the itching got worse and worse. I finally went to see my doctor, and they ran a lot of tests.
I knew something was really wrong when the doctor brought me into a room and said he wanted to speak with my wife as well. Nothing prepares you for the shock of hearing you have cancer. I just felt numb. My wife was crying.
My doctor diagnosed me with a type of pancreatic cancer - a tumor in my digestive system where the liver and pancreas meet. He told me I needed to have a special surgery called the Whipple procedure and recommended that I see a specialist at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.
It made me feel better to know there was a plan in place.
My surgery involved removing portions of my stomach, pancreas, gall bladder and intestine. In the old days, they said, I would have needed a large, open incision across the front of my body. But UI Health can perform the procedure with a robot through just a tiny incision. In fact, my surgeon, Dr. Pier Giulianotti was the first in the world ever to perform a robotic assisted Whipple. So I was in good hands!
Along with my wife, Dr. Giulianotti practically didn't leave my side. During the time I was in the hospital, he was scheduled to go on a vacation. He canceled it to stay with me till I was better. He is an amazing doctor - hands on, positive, motivating. Dr. G and the team at UI Health saved my life.
It's now been three years since my surgery and chemo. Coming back from cancer is the hardest thing I've ever done. On the bad days, I told myself, "Just keep pushing. Rest. And then push!" I did it for my family and our future together.
Gradually, I have begun competing again - participating in triathlons, duathlons, obstacle races and other road races. This fall, I competed in the Spartan Beast - a half-marathon with 27 obstacles involving 8-foot walls, ropes, barbed wire and sand bags. I finished first for my age group and 32nd out of 3,688 overall.
I would have never been able to do all this without Dr. Giulianotti's surgery and some higher powers watching me as well. I am always grateful.
VIDEO: Watch the patient story
Brian Schoenborn Personal Trainer Chicago, Usa
It was 2005 when I first met Pier Giulianotti, in Grosseto.
while the facility where I used to work at that time was trying to understand the possibility of developing a robotic program, Pier Giulianotti, has already understood, mastered, developed and finally started to teach the essence of robotics in general surgery and not only.
When talent and vision merge in a person devoted to his dream, no one can stop him!
Dr Bernardo Rocco
Medico chirurgo Specialista in Urologia
Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico
U.O.C. di Urologia
Docente a contratto della Scuola di Specializzazione in Urologia - Università degli Studi di Milano
Direttore Scientifico Fondazione per la Ricerca e la Terapia in Urologia RTU-ONLUS
Prof. Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti is a surgeon of the future. With his foresight, he grasped the opportunity at the turn of millennium and explored the application of the robotic technology for complex operative procedures like hepatic resection & Whipple operation.
He is considered the foremost robotic surgeon worldwide. The setup of CRSA in 2009 once again confirms his visionary perspective and this is an excellent platform for robotic general surgeons to meet, to learn, to share and to witness how the robotic technology changes the world.
He always mentions to his subordinates total commitment and which is well demonstrated by his unfailing support to direct outstanding robotic training programs in Grosseto on regular basis out of his busy schedule. I would really like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Piero for learning so much from him as one of his younger fellows and friends.
Dr CN Tang
Chief of Service, Department of Surgery
Deputy Hospital Chief Executive
Director of Minimal Access Surgery Training Centre
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong SAR
The first time I met Professor Giulianotti was during a live surgery procedure.
He was performing a robotic HPB redo.
Watching the operative field it was impossible to identify any anatomic structures and I thought he would have converted soon the procedure in open surgery, but I was wrong.
He started to move the robotic instruments slowly and precisely, as waving in the abdomen of the patient and after every surgical movements the elements of the hepatic hilum were exposed as He was performing a simple cholecystectomy.
For me was as a thunderbolt, I understood that robotic surgery was the pathway to enter in the future for surgery and Prof. Pier Giulianotti was the Master.
Pier Giulianotti is not only an outstanding surgeon, He has had the vision and the cultural honesty to realize the dream.
I am honoured to have his friendship.
Paolo Pietro Bianchi
European Institute of Oncology
In November, 2000, we received at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey delivery of the number 13 and number 14 Da Vinci Robotic Surgical Systems to roll off the assembly. We performed several of the “first” robotic operations such as robotic colectomy with the Da Vinci. Only one place was ahead of us in the world for General Surgery that was Grosseto, Italy. Piercristoforo Giulianotti was already doing Whipple operations with da Vinci as well as numerous other thoracic and abdominal operations. Indeed, he had already started the first robotic surgery training center in the world.
I first met Pier when he decided to start the first international robotic surgery society. Pier invited about 10 of the leading Robotic Surgeons in the world to Grosseto. Over a busy weekend, we put together bylaws and the structure for a new society named MIRA (Minimally Invasive Robotics Association). Piero coined the acronym. Although we all endorsed Piero to be named the first President of MIRA, Pier insisted that it be someone else. Much to my surprise, I was voted MIRA’s first President. That weekend launched a now 14 year friendship between Piero and me. The first MIRA meeting was hosted by Pier in Rome and I hosted the second one in New York.
Piero frequently invited me to Grosseto to lecture at his General Surgery Robotic Courses. They were unique events. In addition to state of the art lectures populated with outstanding videos of robotic surgery procedures, Pier invited the leading Italian robotic surgeons to perform demonstration operations. Often Italian surgeons in adjacent operating rooms, for example, would demonstrate concurrently four different ways to mobilize robotically the splenic flexure. These courses were amazing learning opportunities for me. These operations were my first introduction to Medial toLlateral mobilization for colectomies. More recently, the University of Illinois at Chicago enticed Pier to leave Grosseto and to become Professor of Surgery in Chicago. Pier has rapidly built a large surgical practice in Chicago. He has become one of the two or three busiest Whipple surgeons in America. Perhaps only Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hopkins exceed his volume.
Of course, Pier has continued his interest in education. With his formative experiences in MIRA, Pier was able to develop and to establish and even better and more robust international robotic surgery society, Clinical Robotic Surgery Association (CRSA). This society has become the major voice in robotic surgery and its web site the major source of information and videos regarding robotic surgery in the world.
It has been a great journal from my first meeting with Pier. He continues to reign as the leading Robotic General Surgeon in the world!
Long live the King!!
Garth H. Ballantyne, M.D. M.B.A. F.A.C.S. F.A.S.C.R.S.
New York Veterans Administration Harbor Healthcare System
The Manhattan VA Medical Center and the Brooklyn VA Medical Center
New York, USA
I had just been nominated Director-General of Health of the Province of Grosseto and at first I try to renew and improve the quality level, beginning from my priority: surgery. I had to take a leading surgeon and to do so I wrote on a paper all the mean features I was looking for: the person who would have been hired had to have all those features. At the end of selection procedures, I was with 4 names and among them that of Prof. Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti, which I had never seen and known. With my surprise, he embodied all, without exception, the features described on that paper. The choice was so easy. But later I found out that these professional and human qualities, considered a priority and so important to me, they were very small compared to the potential and capabilities that this great person could express. It took a few meetings discussing strategies for the revitalization of surgery in our Provincial Hospital to discover a common passion: the technology applied to surgery, and novelties in this field. We shook a deal to equip the surgical ward of the Hospital of the most modern technological developments in this field. I would find the financial resources for investment and the responsibility to successfully apply them to surgery would be up to Giulianotti. Robotics was chosen. The first challenge was using the da Vinci robot, already in use in the United States of America, but unknown in Italy. The risks were enormous: there were no surgical protocols, procedures, or experts who could training in new techniques the surgical equipe, everything had to be invented. If I risked my head for making bad investments, Giulianotti risked his career and prestige in case of failure. And here he shown his greatness: get involved, risking his own future, to suffer for the huge physical and professional commitment to bring in our country revolutionary innovations in the surgical field for patient’s benefit, to save lives, to make interventions possible only with the support of these new technologies. But to achieve these goals intelligence is not enough.
The curiosity, the physical effort and another gift: the stubbornness, the certainty of his choices, the courage that enabled Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti to overcome the inevitable mishaps, failures, criticism, jealousy and the “bitterness” of the comments of important health politics, that nothing did to made the Tuscany Region one of the global benchmark of robotic surgery, forcing this professional to emigrate to the United States.
Giulianotti has accepted all the risks associated with the introduction of a such novelty in surgery, he suffered, he worked intensely for years, he won and he was right in thinking a new surgery allowing surgeons to deal safely with even the most difficult operations. At the international level, today, he is recognized as a landmark of robotic surgery. Only people like him, with great intelligence, dedication to science, deep humanity, but of strong character and determination can change the world…the others are just spectators.
Dr. Gianfranco Salvi
Past General Manger Usl 9, Grosseto, Italy
Too many times the minimally invasive surgery, specifically the laparoscopic one, called “pioneer” surgeons that felt to be so, but without really being so. Many had also decried the method until the day before, and then pretend to teach it. Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti has rehabilitated the figure of the pioneer (as an explorer of unknown lands) by filling it with surgical meaning. Alone, among the general skepticism of the most, the same that still linger (but now with less and less conviction), has launched robotic surgery, first in Italy and among the first in the world, filling it as first of meaning, not only surgical. He has represented the evolution of surgical thought: he was able to look beyond and made possible what seemed impossible. Most of all, with the authority that he had, was able to teach the technique at an international level, not only to me and my equipe. The hardness of his attitudes disappears in front of his surgical gesture, not less sublime than effective, decisive, rational, dogmatic. He traveled ways never tried before, with the security of the Greats; he made easy this technology, that suddenly appeared useful to every surgeon.
We are just at the beginning and his experience is already enormous in the most difficult chapters of surgery (pancreas, liver, esophagus)
It 's really hard to keep up with him. Thanks Piero
Minimally Invasive Surgeon
Prof Giulianotti has been contributing in the last decade to the beginning of a new era in the field of minimally invasive and robotic surgery as the main player and pioneer.
His personal efforts, mind strength, surgical ability and personal determinism are fundamental keys to the importance and maintenance of our society.
No doubt he is an example for the future surgeons who want to begin in minimally invasive and robotic surgery!
Dr.Antonio Luiz de Vasconcellos @ Dr.Vladimir Schraibman
Hospital Albert Einstein
São Paulo – Brasil
I had the pleasure to meet Dr Giulianotti on February 2008 , during 6 months I was able to assist him in his complex operations. I was surprised by how complex procedures were performed without major difficulties, or any major bleeding. Those months were very useful for me since I learnt a lot about HPB surgery , indications , anatomy, techniques. Then in December of same year I became an assistant professor at his division.
Since then I ve been working with him, learning from him. Every time I have a question or a complex patient he will always help me. I find Dr Giulianotti an inspiration especially for young surgeons.
Is without doubts a true pioneer of minimally invasive and Robotic surgery , I feel lucky to be part of Dr Giulianotti's team.
Enrique E. Elli, MD. FACS. FASMBS
Director of Bariatric Surgery
Division of Minimally Invasive, General & Robotic Surgery
University of Illinois at Chicago
Prof. Giulianotti was among the first to envision the revolutionary use of robotic technology in surgical procedures.
In the past 14 years, he has performed over 1700 robotic procedures and organized numerous worldwide robotic training programs dedicating to the advocacy of advanced robotic surgery.
His devotion and contribution to the robotic surgery has won him more than dozens of visiting professorships in the most prestige institutes around the world.
He is regarded as the world's foremost expert in robotic surgery.
Prof. Michael Li
Honorary Consultant in General Surgery,
Director of Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery Development,
Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, Hong Kong
In General Surgery it is very difficult and it takes a lot of effort to create new methods.
But in the short time that I was around Prof. Giulianotti, I observed that all of his time and effort went into the realization of these methods.
I would be happy to have learned form him and pass his knowledge to the new generations, especially in our country
Sarkis Mosoian, MD
Robotic General Surgeon
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Pier Giulianotti is a pioneer and master on robotic surgery.
I have had the privileege to watch him operating and to learn how to perform complex robotic procedures, that now I start to reproduce in Brazil.
Thanks and Bravo Professor!!
Dr. Fábio Madureira
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Honestly, when I first watched the robotic Whipple surgery performed by Prof. Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti before Christmas in 2008, I was stunned by this almost revolutionary surgical method. His rich experience and skillful performance have left a deep expression to me. Like playing classical selections on the piano, he has a tacit understanding of this cutting edge surgical technology and been involved in harmony with an atmosphere of unity and smoothness during the whole surgical procedures.
He is more like a good friend of mine than one of surgeon colleagues. Through my contact with Prof. Giulianotti, I pleasantly found that we have something in common. His philosophy to surgery and academic achievements have had a profound influence on the development of surgical techniques worldwide. He has not only been witnessing the evolution of surgical methods but considered as a pioneer in the process of pushing forward the modern methodology (from traditional open, laparoscopically then to robotically) in different surgical fields, including urology, gynecology, cardiothoracic surgery and HPB and so forth. In particular, he has pioneered in HPB and set a precedent in complex cases, such as the first LDLT and right hepatectomy. Experiencing the surgical revolution activated by the flourishing growth of information technology, he has obtained full and objective recognition towards different surgical types and systematically analyzed their advantages, disadvantages, benefits to patients and our society.
Now, he is dedicated to the promotion and progress of robotic surgery around the world. Every year, he spares no effort to organize CRSA Congress with the aim to build a platform of academic exchanges. It is worth mentioning that live surgery is highlighted in each congress. Furthermore, he also puts emphases on the training of robotic surgeons and encourages all the colleagues to share their experience and ideas in the Clinical Virtual University.
To me, he is a good friend, a pianist, a prestigious professor, a pioneer in surgery, and what’s more important, he is a companion to me. One is in America and the other is in China with different atmosphere but one ambition-from seeds to blossom in bud and then to in blossom.
Ningxin Zhou, MD
Director and Chief
Institute of Hepatobiliary
General Hospital of PLA Second Artillery
The Centre of Minimally Invasive Surgery,
For me Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti is a mentor and a friend.
He is man who put his passion together with his love to Surgery on daily way.
He understood earlier than many others that modern technology should revolutionize the way we do surgery.
He is also one of the rare personalities who naturally transfer routine to arts.
For me his character is a modern expression of ancient Roman genome, collected power, passion, love, glory.
I remember my first face to face meeting with Pier in 2008 in Rome during MIRA congress, being impressed by his lecture, and even more by very unique way of thinking, expressing himself extraordinary clear, using “Italian way” of talking with whole body expression and “loudly” moving his hands to convince audience that Robotics is right instruments to make complex surgery easy.
I was feeling happiness!
Happiness to meet such a passionate person, loving what he does.
Shortly after that I went to see and learn in Grosseto and in Chicago beautiful way of doing surgery and in January 2012 Pier generously "gave his shoulder” in a new program of Robotic Liver-Pancreas Surgery in Israel.
It is a honor for me share my Unit’s success with Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti.
Evgeny Solomonov, MD
Director of HPB Surgery Unit
Department of Organ Transplantation
Beilinson Hospital, RMC
Petah Tikva, Israel
I met Piero Giulianotti at an HPB conference at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London in 2010. He was the most awaited guest and his attendance did not disappoint the audience.
I was surprised how such a world renowned surgeon, was down earthed enough to spend time with me at the social dinner chatting about surgery if we had been friends for a while.
Soon I felt compelled to apply for the robotic fellowship at the University of Illinois Medical Center, which I obtained for the year 2012 and 2013.
During that time, I had the privilege of getting to know many aspects of Piero's professional and personal life.
Beside his surgical skills, which at this point in his career deserve no further comments, I learn to admire the stamina and the strive for excellence that has been the trademark of all his life.
Piero's attitude towards medicine and surgery is the one of a clinician that accepts nothing below perfection, first from himself, and from his team thereafter.
The constant strive for excellence, innovation and research has allowed robotic surgery to reach the level of development which it has today.
I am personally very grateful to Piero for everything he thought me, but especially for having given me confidence in my means and belief in robotic surgery, the potential of which are enormous.
He is not only a great surgeon, but he his an inspirational figure that will accompany my life indefinitely.
Above all he is a dear friend to whom I am ever so grateful.
Eduardo Fernandes, MD, PhD, MRCS
London Deanery School of Surgery
Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti is an unique figure in international surgery, a “bridge” between the past and the future.
He represents the classic “General Surgeon” able to provide surgical treatment in any part of the human body but further empowered by the most current technology.
He is a surgeon equally at ease in a broad variety of surgical pathologies of the neck, chest and abdomen;
as good as any Specialists in every field of open or laparoscopic/robotic surgery.
He is a product of the School of his mentor Professor Selli from University of Pisa as much as of the proponent of the latest digital technology applied to surgery.
A surgeon who invariably put his patient first, equally exception in the operating room and in the post operative care.
Few years ago, Pier decided to leave a comfortable and prestigious situation in Italy for a new experience in the US.
Once again he has shown himself able to be the catalyst of relevant innovations both in surgical technique and education of the surgeons of the future.
For his incredible technical skills, disruptive ideas, and passion for Surgery as much for the classic music, I would like to propose again my definition of the "Beethoven of Surgery"
Enrico Benedetti, MD, FACS
Warren H. Cole Chair in Surgery
Professor and Head
Department of Surgery
University of Illinois at Chicago
Prof. Pier Giulianotti has been my mentor, teacher, inspiration and a close friend.
We had 'love at first sight' when we met at a conference in Kolkatta, India.
I visited Prof. Giulianotti's International School of Robotic Surgery at Grosseto, Italy in 2006.
Was much impressed with his craftsmanship.
He used to tell us that his mother wanted him to become the artist.
That is the reason that he draws the anatomy inside the abdomen.
He emphasizes, "let the artist within you not die".
After Prof. Giulianotti moved to Chicago, I did not miss even a single opportunity to interact and learn from him at his new position.
He has been constant motivation for us to start Robotic Surgery in India.
Now we are doing good number of Robotic Bariatric Surgery for morbid and super obese.
All thanks to my idol, iconic, tech savvy robotic (still an excellent human being) Surgeon
Dr. Parveen Bhatia
MS, FRCS (Eng.), FICS, FIAGES (Hon.), FMAS, FIMSA, FAIS, FALS, FCLS
Chairman | Institute of Minimal Access, Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (iMAS)
Institute of Robotic Surgery (IRS)
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital | New Delhi, India
Council Member | Delhi Medical Council
Governing Council Member (2010-15)|Association of Surgeons of India
Consultant Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgeon | Medical Director
Global Hospital & Endosurgery Institute
New Delhi, India
After finishing my basic training in Robotic surgery, I started performing rectal cancer surgery under supervision of a proctor . I must say that initially with some difficulties. The major difficulty was trocar positioning.
Why ? Because, I was always trying to reproduce exactly what I was taught.
I was not thinking .
Then, I went for a course at International Robotic School in Grosseto, Italy, under the leadership of Prof. Giulianotti.
The beginning of the course was exactly the dynamics of trocar positioning and the optic lens.
I know , it sounds simple but honestly , it made a huge difference in my practice.
Also, his capacity not only to perform but also to teach and transfer surgical robotic knowledge makes him a real Professor.
So, I must show my gratitude by praising him.
Eduardo Linhares Riello Mello,PhD
Former Head of Department of Abdominal Surgery,
Instituto Nacional do Cancer,
Dr. Giulianotti is a brilliant robotic surgeon undoubtedly one of the leaders in this area around the World.
It's impressive that a Surgeon with his prominence in the World has the passion to teach as Dr. Giulianotti has.
Dr. Manuel Aceves Avalos, FACS
Obesidad y Laparoscopia Avanzada (Grupo Ola)
Professor Pier Giulianotti is a renowned figure in robotic and minimally invasive surgery and I regard him as the father of robotic surgery.
i consider myself to be fortunate to have close interaction with him since my first training at robotic school in Grosseto, Italy in may, 2011 and then at UIC, Chicago when i visited him for a short period in may, 2012.
Pier Giulianotti has been a great support in our endeavor of establishing the robotic advanced hepatobiliary surgery at our institute.
His successful attempt at doing the world's first robotic assisted right lobe living donor surgery is a land mark and he was kind enough to provide us a video lecture of the same which was very well received at our first international liver symposium in Delhi in 2011. As an academician, his published works and results continue to inspire all those who are established or are aspiring to embark on robotic and minimally invasive surgery.
I wish him all the best in his professional and personal life
Dr. Amit Rastogi, MD
Senior Consultant, Liver transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery,Incharge,
Minimally Invasive and Robotic Liver Surgery, Medanta Liver Institute, Medanta - the medicity,
Gurgaon (DELHI-NCR) India.
Professor PC Giulianotti is not only a pioneer of robotic surgery, he is also a great mentor.
His ideas and vision of the future of surgery have really changed my practice and should be seen as the next direction where minimally invasive surgery is beeing developing.
Nicolas C. BUCHS, MD
Chef de Clinique FMH
Responsable du Centre Multidisciplinaire d'Enseignement Chirurgical (CMEC)
Département de Chirurgie
Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève
I was still a resident in General Surgery when I met Prof. Giulianotti for the first time.
It was 2001 or 2002 and he was just considered one of the most important laparoscopic surgeons in Europe. He was taking a lecture about something new... robotic surgery. Since that time he mastered a lot of young surgeons as me and every time I meet him it is a precious opportunity to learn something else.
Alberto Patriti, MD
Department of Surgery
Division of General, Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery
Hospital of Spoleto
Pier Giulianotti is the pioneer of robotic surgery throughout the world. With his innovative mentality he has put the entire field of surgery to a next level.
He is blessed with extraordinary skills, he is humble and a great teacher.
All his efforts are only for the benefit of his patients; that's what really matters.
With his empirical approach of robotic surgery he is, without no doubt, one of the current leaders in the field. It has always been a great pleasure working with him and I am proud to call him my mentor and friend
Menno R Vriens, MD, PhD
University Medical Center Utrecht
Professor Pier Giulianotti is a legend, an inspiration for all young Robotic surgeon.
He treed in this field when the world looked down on it, now the whole world looks at him for proving the advantage of Robotic surgery in all complex surgery.
A magnificent teacher, a phenomenal guide and gifted surgeon, we salute you, the GURU of Robotic surgery.
M. Manisegaran MS,DNB,MNAMS,MCh,FRCS(Ed)
Associate Professor & HOD Gastroenterology surgery
NRI Academy of Medical Sciences
Dr. Giulianotti is a world-well known robotic as well as laparoscopic surgeon.
His passion in this field of surgery has been affecting and inspiring a lot of surgeon in the world.
I wish more success in his works in the future.
Prof. Gyu-Seog Choi MD, PH. D.
Professor and Head Division of Colorectal Surgery
MIS and Robotic Research & Training Center
Kyungpook National University Hospital,
The history of the Robotic Surgery has been different before and after Prof Giulianotti.
He is our "maestro", he makes the difficulty becomes easy
Jose Paulo Jesus,MD
Chief Abdominopelvic Surgery at National Cancer Institute of Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Professor Pier Giulianotti is a true leader in the field of robotic surgery.
His pioneering work together with his willingness to teach and share his vast experience in this field will certainly pave the way for future generation of surgeons to further push the boundaries of this promising field.
Dr Brian K. P. Goh, MBBS, MMed, MSc, FRCSEd
Senior Consultant and Assistant Professor,
Department of Hepatopancreatobiliary and Transplantation Surgery,
Singapore General Hospital,