Gene Burnstein

Ballooning Enthusiast Recovers From Prostate Cancer Surgery in Time for International Balloon Event, Thanks to Monmouth Medical Center Robotic Surgeons

In 2003, Gene Burnstein, an active 52-year-old hot-air balloon pilot and enthusiast, was getting ready for a ballooning event in Canada and scheduled a check-up to obtain the FAA medical clearance form needed for the event.


During the routine exam, his doctor noticed something out of the ordinary when he examined his prostate and recommended that Gene see a specialist. Over the next few years, Gene's urologist kept a careful eye on his PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening test and in 2007, when his test levels went up, he underwent a biopsy that showed he had prostate cancer.

Gene learned he had early stage prostate cancer and immediately began extensive research to determine his treatment options.

"I asked my urologist a whole slew of questions, and he recommended full open surgery, but I had been reading about robotic surgery. I decided to seek a second opinion from urologists Michael Esposito, M.D., and Vincent Lanteri, M.D., who are world-renowned experts in robotic surgery and pioneers of robotic prostatectomy," Gene shared.

Gene reviewed the video on Drs. Lanteri and Esposito's website and brought a full list of questions with him to his initial visit. "Dr. Lanteri appreciated that I had done my homework and we ended up having a nice, really open conversation. From that point on, I have had an incredible relationship with both doctors."

After meeting Drs. Lanteri and Esposito, Gene decided to schedule his prostatectomy as a robotic surgery procedure at Monmouth Medical Center.

"Robotics, in my opinion, was a cleaner option than traditional surgery," he said. "It uses small incisions and the recovery time is much shorter. My surgery was scheduled to take place in early June, and one thing I didn't want to do was miss the international balloon festival in Canada in August. I wondered if I could wait a few months to have the surgery, but Drs. Lanteri and Esposito recommended against that."

On June 4th, Gene went to Monmouth Medical Center, the first robotic surgery program in the region and one of the busiest in the state, to undergo his prostatectomy. He stayed overnight and was released after lunch the next day. He was walking shortly after, and he was able to participate in the big balloon festival in Canada, which was a great success.

Drs. Lanteri and Esposito use the latest in robotic surgery technology with High Definition visualization. "Robotic Surgery was an all around good experience. Both the surgery itself and everything associated with it have been so successful, and that took a big load off my mind. It has been four years since my surgery and I am feeling great."

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