What is a Breast Surgeon?

A breast surgeon is a surgeon who focuses on breast. When it is appropriate and indicated, a breast surgeon will do breast surgery. However, much of a breast surgeons practice is devoted to issues and concerns that may not need surgery. Breast surgeons specialize in assessing and treating the complete spectrum of breast issues including assessing breast symptoms such as pain and nipple discharge, evaluating abnormal imaging, performing biopsies genetic counseling and testing, managing breast cancer risk in patients who are at increased risk for breast cancer, helping with problems with lactation, and managing breast cancers including the surgery for the breast cancer.

A Breast Surgeon's Training

A breast surgeon will have completed general surgery residency training. This is the basic training for all breast surgeons. Starting in the late 1990s, the United States started to develop some fellowship programs to provide additional breast-related surgical training but the majority of breast surgeons in this country have not completed a fellowship as these programs are relatively new.

Dr. Sandford did seek fellowship training, but she would caution one from using a fellowship as an indicator of quality and expertise. Nearly all of the most esteemed breast surgeons in the US, the ones who train the fellows, are not fellowship trained. A breast surgeon may, but does not always, focus entirely on breast conditions. In Dr. Sandford's case, 100% of her office practice is devoted to the care of patients with breast conditions and concerns. This also means that essentially all of her continuing education and other research efforts concentrate on staying current in this rapidly changing field.