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Breast surgery

The Royal Free provides a full range of breast surgery procedures and the world-class unit has all the facilities on site for the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant breast conditions.

Our dedicated breast clinic is staffed by three highly experienced consultant breast surgeons, Mr Tim Davidson, Mr Mo Keshtgar and Mr Deb Ghosh, who are part of a multidisciplinary team which includes medical and clinical oncologists, radiologists, nuclear medicine, a clinical geneticist, breast pathologists and clinical nurse specialists. The breast surgeons, who work both privately and in the NHS, have special interests in breast reconstruction, breast imaging and diagnosis, risk-reducing breast surgery and multidisciplinary treatment for early stage and locally-advanced breast cancer.

The breast surgeons are all members of the Association of Breast Surgeons (ABS) and regularly attend and present work at national and international meetings. The breast unit is acclaimed as a specialist training centre for surgeons from the UK and abroad and is highly rated for teaching and research in addition to its clinical excellence.

The Royal Free has been pioneering in the use of new breast cancer treatments and diagnostic procedures. In 2013 we became the first hospital in the UK and the fourth in the world to introduce a new imaging technology for breast cancer called breast PET (positron emission tomography). We were among the first hospitals to offer electrochemotherapy, which uses electrical pulses to make cells more receptive to cancer-killing drugs.

Together with University College London (UCL), we have conducted research into keyhole mastectomy, nipple endoscopy, photodynamic therapy and new computer software to aid clinicians in decision making. The Royal Free has been a leading centre in the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy, a minimally-invasive procedure used to identify whether cancer has spread to the lymph node and rapid intraoperative testing of the node during surgery to avoid the need for a second anaesthetic.

The Royal Free is part of an international clinical trial (TARGIT) into intra-operative radiotherapy, which involves giving selected breast cancer patients a single dose of radiation at the time of surgery rather than needing multiple post-operative visits, so saving time and reducing side effects. In 2011, the TARGIT Academy was founded at the Royal Free to train new users of the equipment from around the world.