American Society of Breast Surgeons

The American Society of Breast Surgeons Announces New Oncoplastic Surgery Training Initiative

December 6, 2017

Contact:: Sharon Grutman

Columbia, MD- In response to a growing emphasis on survivorship and quality-of-life, The American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) announces a new initiative to train and credential breast surgeons in oncoplastic techniques, which provide effective surgical cancer (onco) intervention, while maximizing cosmetic (plastic) results.

"In the U.S., breast surgeons have focused almost exclusively on removing cancer with little regard to the breast disfigurement that may result," says Julie Reiland, MD, Chair, ASBrS Oncoloplastic Surgery Work Group. "Today as breast cancer is diagnosed and treated at earlier stages than ever before, survivorship continues to grow. Fewer women are dying of breast cancer," says Reiland. We as surgeons need to do whatever we can to maximize the patient's post-surgical aesthetic results. New and more refined surgical approaches make enhancing breast appearance possible for a broader range of patients.

"The ASBrS believes that every patient deserves to receive the highest level of cancer care and that care should include attention to getting better cosmetic outcomes," says Dr. Steven Chen, president of the ASBrS. "However, there is a significant gap in training. As the leading surgical society focusing exclusively on the surgical treatment of breast disease, The American Society of Breast Surgeons is committed to filling this void."

A recent survey of ASBrS membership found that 80% of respondents were interested in incorporating oncoplastic techniques into their practice.

Accordingly, this month, the Society will launch an anticipated project to explore the most effective methods to educate interested members and other surgeons about oncoplastic surgical principles. It is anticipated that the effort will take advantage of the existing ASBrS member expertise and combine hands-on courses, webinars, videos and visiting mentor programs to ensure an in-depth, well-rounded training.

"Oncoplastic surgical techniques are as much a mindset as they are a set of specific interventions," comments Reiland. "It simply may involve a new approach to existing surgeries, for example, planning an incision to minimize visible scarring or gentler tissue handling to preserve breast volume to surgery requiring both breast surgeon and plastic surgeon operating together."

Dr. Reiland notes that every patient and circumstance as well as the surgical expertise required can be unique. To achieve a satisfactory appearance, some women receiving breast conserving surgery may require a breast lift or reduction of the opposite breast for better symmetry. This can often be accomplished by surgeons trained in Oncoplastic techniques during the breast cancer procedure itself. In other instances, breast surgeons and plastic surgeons function as part of multidisciplinary teams with the breast surgeon performing the cancer surgery in conjunction with more complex cosmetic repair performed by the plastic surgeon. In isolated, rural areas, women may rely on their breast cancer surgeons for all aspects of care. These rural surgeons will particularly benefit from extensive training on more complex cosmetic techniques.

"While oncologic considerations should never be compromised in favor of enhanced breast appearance, aesthetics are an important consideration for survivorship and an improved quality of life," says Chen. "The American Society of Breast Surgeons believes in treating the whole patient. This new focus will be another major step in that direction."


The American Society of Breast Surgeons is the leading medical society focusing exclusively on the surgical treatment of breast disease. It is committed to continually improving the practice of breast surgery by being an advocate for surgeons who seek excellence in the care of breast patients. This mission is accomplished by serving as a forum for the exchange of ideas and by promoting education, research, and the development of advanced surgical techniques.

The Society was founded in 1995 and now has more than 3100 members in the United States and in 35 countries throughout the world.