SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- For Dr. Robert Raniolo, founder and senior partner at Hudson Valley Surgical Group in Sleepy Hollow, medicine has always been about taking care of those in his community.
Born and raised in Westchester County, Raniolo began his training at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx in the 1980s. He began practicing at a time when minimally invasive procedures were decades away from becoming commonplace. After completing his residency in the city, Raniolo knew his heart was back home. "There was no place I wanted to be more than Tarrytown," he said. "I walked into Phelps Hospital and said, 'I want to work here.' Twenty-nine years have passed and it's been an absolute joy."
Raniolo founded Hudson Valley Surgical Group soon after his arrival at Phelps in 1988, and the group quickly became a leader in minimally invasive procedures. Raniolo's foray into the then-burgeoning field began with gallbladder surgery, in which he was able to remove the organ with just a few small holes rather than through traditional open surgery. Since partnering with Dr. Har Chi Lau in 2000, Hudson Valley Surgical Group has gone on to master a variety of minimally invasive procedures, from hernia repair to breast cancer treatment. "I’m a community guy," said Raniolo. "My job here is to take care of the people in the community and that’s what I do."
With minimally invasive surgery now commonplace, Raniolo looks to the future and wonders if surgeons of tomorrow will even be human. "I bet one day patients lie on a table and a machine scans and operates without a surgeon being present," he said. "Robotic surgery will be the way things are done in the next wave of innovation, but we’re not just there yet."
Until then, Raniolo has enjoyed watching medicine progress at his Hudson Valley practice, from open surgery, to minimally invasive and beyond. "It’s been very exciting to see the old and the new combine," said Raniolo. "I can only imagine what's going to follow."
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