Innovation in Breast Surgery: Practical and Ethical Considerations

Document Type


Publication Date



Surgery, Oncology

Journal Title

Annals of surgical oncology


The adoption of innovation is essential to the evolution of patient care. Breast surgical oncology advances through incorporating new techniques, devices, and procedures. Historical changes in practice standards from radical to modified radical mastectomy or axillary node dissection to sentinel node biopsy reduced morbidity without sacrifice in oncologic outcome. Contemporary oncoplastic techniques afford broader consideration for breast conservation and the potential for improved cosmetic outcomes. At present, many breast surgeons face the decision of which wireless device to use for localization of nonpalpable lesions. Consideration for future changes, such as robotic mastectomy, are on the horizon. No guideline exists to assist breast surgeons in the adoption of innovation into practice. The Ethics Committee of the American Society of Breast Surgeons acknowledges that breast surgeons confront many questions associated with onboarding innovation. This paper aims to provide a framework for asking relevant questions along with the ethical principles to consider when integrating an innovation into practice.