Robert L. Kistner was born into a St. Louis, Mo. medical family in 1929. His father and two of his three brothers were physicians, as were others on his maternal side. His education was with the Jesuits at St. Louis University from high school through medical school and post-graduate residency in general surgery. After serving two years in the U.S. Air Force performing General Surgery, he practiced general surgery in Santa Barbara, Ca. and served as Director of Medical Education at The Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara for two years. He returned to sub-specialty training in Peripheral Vascular Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and was certified when that specialty held its examinations in 1983.

Dr. Kistner’s vascular surgery career began in 1966 when he was invited to join the Straub Clinic as the first trained specialist in peripheral vascular surgery in Hawaii. He initiated the Department of Peripheral Vascular Surgery there and remained with the department until his retirement from Straub Clinic in December 2004. His academic association has been with the University of Hawaii, with the title of Clinical Professor of Surgery since 1986. A busy clinical vascular surgery practice has been supplemented by research and writing predominantly in the field of venous reconstructive surgery and venous diagnostics. His area of special expertise became the venous system in which he and his colleagues developed a number of original concepts and operations from 1968 onward.

He has authored or co-authored over 150 journal articles and book chapters, one book on venous surgery, and more than 120 presentations around the world, mainly on diagnosis and treatment of venous disorders. He has been a contributing member of multiple vascular societies in the United States, and served as President of several local, regional, and national surgical societies. The details are available in the C-V below.


Premedical Training:

St. Louis University, B.S., 1950
Medical School: St. Louis University, M.D., 1954
Internship: St. Louis University, 1954-55
Residencies: St. Louis University, General Surgery, 1955-59
Cleveland Clinic, Peripheral Vascular Surgery
(Fellowship) 1964-65


American Board of Surgery, 1961
Certification of Special Qualifications in General Vascular Surgery,
American Board of Surgery, 1983


1960 – 1962 Chief of General Surgery, USAF Hospital, Travis Air Force Base, Ca
1962 – 1964 Director of Medical Education, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, Ca
1966 – present Surgeon, Peripheral Vascular Surgery, Active Staff, Straub Clinic & Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii
1970 – 1985 Consultant, Peripheral Vascular Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
1970 – present Courtesy Staff at The Queen’s Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, Shriner’s Hospital, Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, Kapiolani Children ’s Medical Center, all in Honolulu, Hawaii
1973 – 1986 Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii
1986 – present Clinical Professor of Surgery, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii


1972 – 1976 Member, Board of Directors, Straub Clinic & Hospital
1973 – 1985 Director of Surgical Education, Straub Hospital, University of Hawaii Integrated Surgical Residency Program
1977 – 1984 President/CEO, Straub Clinic & Hospital1979 – 1980 President, American College of Surgeons, Hawaii Chapter, Honolulu, Hawaii
1979- 1981 Chairman, Community Health Care Committee, Hawaii Medical Association, Honolulu, Hawaii
1981 – 1982 Vice President and President-Elect, Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery
1981 – 1983 Member, State Health Plan Development Committee, Honolulu, Hawaii
1981 – 2004 President, Straub Foundation, Honolulu, Hawaii
1982 – 1983 President, Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery
1984 – 1985 Member, Board of Directors, Hawaii Heart Association, Honolulu, Hawaii
1988 – 1989 President, Hawaiian Surgical Association
1988 – 1989 Member, Board of Directors, Straub Clinic & Hospital
1990 – 1993 Councillor, Executive Committee, American Venous Forum
1994 – 1995 President, Western Vascular Society
1995 – 1996 President, the American Venous Forum
1996 – 1999 Board Member, American Venous Forum Foundation
1997 – 1998 Vice President, American Venous Forum Foundation
1998 – 1999 President, American Venous Forum Foundation


American Medical Association
American College of Surgeons
Hawaii Surgical Association
Pan-Pacific Surgical Association
International Cardiovascular Society
Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery
Society for Vascular Surgery
Western Vascular Society
The American Venous Forum – Founding Member
The American College of Phlebology—Honorary member


1960 – 1962 United States Air Force