What kind of experience should I look for when choosing a breast surgeon?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
When choosing a breast surgeon, look for board certification, years of experience, specialization, hospital affiliation, malpractice record, and your comfort with the doctor. Look at hundreds if not thousands of before and after photos of their work and see 2 or 3 consultations if necessary. Finally make a list and cross reference the surgeons for pros and cons.
Dede Bonner
Health Education

If you are looking for a breast surgeon, you want one who has performed the same surgery that you need many times. Not only will this surgeon be more skillful and confident in the operating room, but she will also be more capable of handling any unforeseen emergencies. There’s still a lot of truth in Benjamin Franklin’s observation, “Beware the young doctor and the old barber.” A good rule of thumb is to go with a surgeon who performs this surgery more than just once or twice a year. Ideally, your surgeon specializes in the surgery you need and has additional special training in breast cancer surgery.

 A good bedside manner can be very comforting, but don’t choose a surgeon based on her personality alone. A surgeon’s personality should be the secondary - not the primary - consideration in making your choice. As Shawna C. Willey, M.D., a breast surgeon and the director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., says, “A lot of physicians’ skills are judged on their personality. If you have to choose between a good heart and good hands, go with the good hands.”

The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

More About this Book

The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

A good mind knows the right answers...but a great mind knows the right questions. And never are the Best Questions more important than after a diagnosis of breast cancer. Drawing on cutting-edge...

Continue Learning about Breast Cancer Treatment

Metastatic Breast Cancer: Understanding Targeted Therapy
Metastatic Breast Cancer: Understanding Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapies are a type of cancer treatment that work by blocking or inhibiting the function of specific molecules found in cancer cells, which ...
Read More
Can a nurse with specialized training support me as breast cancer patient?
Niamh van MeinesNiamh van Meines
Nurses who work in cancer care often have specialized training and may be certified in oncology. If ...
More Answers
How is minimally invasive surgery used for breast cancer?
Blake Medical CenterBlake Medical Center
Minimally invasive surgery can be used to biopsy breast tissue.
More Answers
Does Breast Cancer Screening Have Value?
Does Breast Cancer Screening Have Value?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.