Alexander Julian Swistel, M.D.

General Surgery
Alexander Swistel

Dr. Alexander Swistel is Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery and a nationally-recognized breast surgeon who pioneered many of the newest advances in breast cancer treatment.  He pioneered the inframammary approach to nipple-sparing mastectomies, a technique where the breast cancer is removed through a small incision under the nipple, not across, which not only preserves the nipple, but leaves no scar.  When combined with reconstructive surgery, it produces significantly improved cosmetic results, with no decrease in survival. Dr. Swistel has made an educational video for breast surgeons on this nipple-sparing procedure and has been invited to present his technique to surgeons across the country.

Dr. Swistel was among the first physicians in New York to perform a sentinel lymph node biopsy, in which tracer compounds pinpoint the precise lymph node, eliminating the need to surgically remove 20-30 lymph nodes. This procedure is now part of the standard treatment for breast cancer patients.

Dr. Swistel is also one of the pioneers of oncoplastic surgery, in which a lumpectomy is combined with reduction cosmetic surgery for large-breasted women. He is establishing a specialized center of oncoplastic surgery, which utilizes state-of-the-art techniques for tumor removal along with reconstructive options provided by a specialized team of surgeons.

Dr. Swistel's internationally-recognized expertise and outstanding reputation as one of the leader's in his field brings breast cancer patients from around the world to seek his specialized treatment.  He has been named by Castle Connolly as one of America's Top Doctors and Top Cancer Doctor every year since 2007;  New York Magazine has also cited him repeatedly in its Best Doctors annual issue; and US News & World Report has repeatedly recognized him as one of the nation's best breast cancer surgeons.  He has also been named as a "New York SuperDoctor" every year since 2008, an honor accorded to just 5% of all New York physicians.  In 2011, Dr. Swistel was named to Who's Who in America. 

 

Alexander J. Swistel, M.D., a nationally-renowned breast surgeon, has pioneered many of the newest advances in minimally-invasive breast cancer treatment.

Dr. Swistel graduated from Harvard University and received his medical degree from Brown University School of Medicine in 1975. He completed his surgical residency at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and a two-year surgical oncology fellowship at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. At the completion of his fellowship, Dr. Swistel returned to St. Luke's as an Attending Surgeon and subsequently became the Chief of Breast Surgery.

In 1996, he was recruited by New York-Presbyterian Hospital to strengthen the breast service and joined the attending staff in surgery. Dr. Swistel's visionary leadership was instrumental in developing and launching the Weill Cornell Breast Center and he became the Director of the Program and served for Chief of Breast Surgery for over 14 years. He is Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, Associate Attending at New York-Presbyterian Hospital's Department of Surgery.

Dr. Swistel has pioneered many significant improvements in the delivery of breast cancer care that have greatly benefited patients and offered new, less invasive treatment options for women with breast cancer. He developed an early protocol using laser-guided destruction of small breast tumors as a way to minimize surgical treatment of breast cancers. He was the first surgeon in New York to perform a skin-sparing mastectomy in 1991. That technique revolutionized standard radical mastectomies. When combined with immediate reconstruction, it allowed for a significantly improved cosmetic outcome, with no decrease in survival. In fact, the quality of survival was enhanced.

He continues to pioneer techniques in surgery that provide effective removal of tumors with reconstructive techniques that leave the patients without visible scars and excellent tumor therapy. This vision has culminated in the establishment of a specialized center of oncoplastic surgery, where teams of surgeons combine the latest techniques for tumor removal along with reconstructive options. This leaves patients with no visible reminder of the breast cancer, better cosmetic results, and reduced risk. Many studies show a huge psychological benefit to woman who undergo oncoplasty.

In 1986, he established the first Comprehensive Breast Center in Manhattan at St. Luke's Hospital. That center served as a model for subsequent breast centers throughout the city. Recognizing that minority populations often have difficulty accessing good breast care he received a special grant from New York State to focus on screening of minority patients. This program was adopted by the New York State legislature and continues benefiting women today.

Dr. Swistel was one of the first physicians in New York to pioneer sentinel lymph node biopsy, a new technique for minimizing auxiliary surgery. He currently runs a high-risk surveillance program at the Weill Cornell Breast Center for patients who are at elevated risk for developing breast cancer.

Dr. Swistel is past President of the Metropolitan Breast Cancer Group, which is the oldest and largest regional group of breast cancer specialists in the nation. He is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. Dr. Swistel is a member of many professional societies, including the American College of Surgeons, Brown Medical Alumni Association, New York County Medical Society, Association for Academic Surgery, Society of Head and Neck Surgeons, American Society of Clinical Oncology, New York Metropolitan Mammography Society, American Society of Breast Diseases and the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

Insurances

Insurance Plans Accepted

The following represents most of the managed care plans accepted by this physician. If your insurance carrier does not appear here please feel free to contact this physician or this physician's practice as they may have individual contracts not included on this site.

  • Aetna - Weill Cornell [POS]
  • CIGNA
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield [Mediblue (Senior)]
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield [PPO]
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield [HMO]
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield [EPO]
  • Fidelis Care
  • Health Plus - Amerigroup [CHP]
  • Health Plus - Amerigroup
  • POMCO
  • Rockefeller University - CoreSource
  • United Empire

Publications

PUBLICATIONS:

1.   Buonapane E., Collier, T., Geller, T., Giangrosso, T., Labbok, M., Swistel, A.J., Gottlieb, M.S.: Screening for Prevalence of the Arterial Hypertension Recognized and Unrecognized with Evaluation of Blood Pressure Control In an Urban Population: Clin. Res., 23: 463, 1973.

2.   Burrows, W.B., Pierce, J.C., Hashim, G.A., Ramey, W.G,, Swistel, A.J., Lee, D.H., Fitzpatrick, H.F.: Cell-Mediated Immunity to Donor Antigens in Renal Allogaft Recipients. Surgery, 83 (6): 741 – 745, 1978.

3.   Swistel, A.J., McCabe, R.E., Lorieo, D.R., Wildstein, A., Pierce, J.C., Fitzpatrick, H.F,: The Enhancing Effect of Donor Pretreament (C-MP) and Low Dose Immunosuppression (LDI) in Dogs. Proc. Dial, and Trans. Forum, VIII: 93-95, 1978.

4.   Ramey, W.G., Hashim, G.A., Burrows, W.B., Swistel, A.J., Munther, A.S., Fitzpatrick, H.F.: Cell-Medicated Immunity to Breast Cancer: Tumor Antigen-Sensitive Circulating T-Lymphocytes. Fed. Proc., 38: 993, 1979.

5.   Swistel, A.JU., McCabe, R.E., Lorieo, D.R., Wildstein, A., Fitzpatrick, H.F.: The Effect of Donor Pretreatment and Low Dose Immunosuppression on the 24-Hour Preserved Canine Renal Allograft. Trans. Proc, Vol. XI, (3): 1679 –1675, 1979.

6.   Ramey, W.G., Hashim, G.A., Burrows, W.B., Swistel, A.J., Munther, A.S., Fitzpatrick,k H.F.: Detection of Breast Tumor Antigen-Sensitive Circulating T-Lymphocytes by Antigen-Stimulated Active Rosette Formation. Cancer Research, 39: 4796 –4801, 1979.

7.   Ramey, W.G., Hashim, G.A., Munther, A.S., Swistel A.J., Burrows, W.B., Fitzpatrick, H.F.: Diagnosis, Stage and Prognosis of Lung Carcinoima by Preoperative Assay of Lung Tumor Antigen-Sensitive T-Lymphocytes. J. Thorac. And Cardiovasc. Surgery. 80 (5): 656 –660, 1980.

8.   McCabe, R.E., Swistel, A.J., Lorieo, D.R., Fitzpatrick, H.F.: Prolongation of Canine Renal Allografts in the Immunosuppressed host by Donor Pretreatment with Cytolytic Agents. Trans. Proc, Vol. XII, (2): 355 – 57, 1980.

9.   Ramey, W.G., Hashim, G.A., Munther, A.S., Swistel, A.J., Burrows, W.B., Fitzpatrick, H.F.: Circulating Lung, Tumor Antigen-Sensitive T-Lymphocytes: Detection in the Early Stages of Lung Cancer. Surgery, 88: 202-207, 1980.

10.   Swistel, A.J., Lorieo, D.R., McCabe, R.E.: The Effect of Donor Pretreatment on Tubular Function of the Preserved Canine Allograft: Organ Preservation, Basic and Applied Aspects. Chap. 41, MPP-Press Limited, Internal Medicine Publishers, 1982.

11.   Ramey, W.G., Hashim, G.A., Munther, A.S., Swistel, A.J., Fitzpatrick, H.F., Miller, R.E.: Prediction of Breast Carcinoma Recurrence by Postoperative Assay of Tumor-Sensitive T-Lymphocytes. Feb. Proc., 40: 1039, 1981.

12.   Swistel, A.J., Hancock, C.H., Bading, J.R., Leyland-Jones, B., Raaf, J.H.: Improved VX-2 Tumor Response After Intra-Arterial Versus Intravenous Adriamycin: Pharmacokinetic and Hemodynamic Verification. Surgical Forum, XXXIV: 443-445, 1983.

13.   Swistel, A.J., Bading, J.R., Raaf, J.H.: Comparison of Intra-Arterial Versus Intravenous Adriamycin in the Rabbit VX-2 Tumor System. Cancer, 53 (6): 1394-1404, 1984.

14.   Fodor, P., Swistel, A.J.: Chest Wall Deformity Following Expansion of Irradiated Soft Tissue for Breast Reconstruction. Journal of the New York State Medical Society, 1988.

15.   Simmons, R.M., Kersey Fish, S., Gayle, L., La Trenta, G.S., Swistel, A.J., Christos, P., Osborne, M.P.: Local and Distant Recurrence Rates in Skin Sparing Mastectomies Compared with Non-Skin Sparing Mastectomies. Annals of Surgical Oncology 6: 676-681, 1999.

16.   Chiu, A., Swistel, A.J., Hoda, S.A.: Sentinel Lymph Node: One Year

Experience. Modern Pathology, 12: 17A, 178, 1999.

17.   Chiu, A., DeLellis, R.A., Swistel, A.J., Hyjek, E., Hoda, S.A.: Frozen Section Examination of Sentinel Lymph Nodes. Is It Predictive of Status of Other Axillary nodes? Modern Pathology, 13: 19A, 89, 2000.

18.   Chiu, A., DeLellis, R.A., Swistel, A.J., Hyjek, E., Hoda, S.A.: Axillary Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy is More Accurate in T1 Than Larger Breast Cancers. Modern Pathology, 13: 19A, 90, 2000.

19.   Hyjek, E., Chiu, A., Chadburn, A., Swistel, A.J., Hoda, S.A., DeLellis, R.A.: Rapid Immunostaining with Cytokeratin of Sentinel Lymph Nodes. Modern Pathology, 13 : 223A, 1316, 2000.

20.   Shaikh, N., LaTrenta, G., Swistel, A.J., Osborne, M.: Detection of Recurrent Breast Cancer After Tram Flap Reconstruction. Annals of Plastic Surgery, December 2001.

21.   Chiu, A., Hoda, S.A., Swistel, A.J., Rosen, P.P.: Sentinel Lymph Nodes Positive by Immunohistochemistry Only. Breast Journal. In Press.

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

1.   Swistel, A.J., McCabe, R.E., Lorieo, D.R., Wildstein, A., Pierce, J.C., Fitzpatrick, H.F.: The Enhancing Effect of Donor pretreatment (C-MP) and Low Dose Immunosuppression (LDI) in Dogs. Clinical Dialysis and Transplant Forum, VIII, New Orleans, Louisiana, November, 1978.

2.   Swistel, A.J., Bading, J.R., Raaf, J.H.: Comparison of Intra-Arterial Versus Intravenous Adriamycin in the Rabbit VX-2 Tumor System. Society of Surgical Oncology, Denver Colorado, May 1983.

3.   Swistel, A.J., Hancock, C.H., Bading, J.R., Leyland-Jones, B., Raaf, J.H.: The Pharmacokinetics of Intra-Arterial and Intravenous Adriamycin in the Rabbit VX-2 Tumor System. Surgical Forum XXXIV, Fall Meeting, American College of Surgeons, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1983.

4.   Swistel, A.J., Shiu, M.H., Myskowski, P.L., Brennan, M.F.: Malignant Melanoma in Association with Lympho-Reticular Malignancies. First International Melanoma Conference, Venice, Italy, May 1985.

5.   Swistel, A.J.: Update on Breast Cancer – New Techniques, Research and Treatment. Time Life “Run for Life,” New York, New York, January, 1995.

6.   Swistel, A.J.: Update on Breast Surgery 6th Annual Symposium, Section on Breast Cancer. Sociedad Medica Dominicana, Inc., New York, New York, September, 1995.

7.   Swistel, A.J.: Surgical Grand Rounds, Visiting Faculty, DCIS; Radical Surgery for Non-Radical Disease? Wycoff Heights Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, December, 1997.

8.   Swistel, A.J.: Teaching Faculty, Cornell-Salzburg Seminars. New Techniques in Breast and Thyroid Cancer Surgery, Salzburg, Austria, February, 1998.

9.   Swistel, A.J.: New Techniques in Breast Cancer Surgery - Sentinel Lymph Node and Stereotactic Breast Biopsy, Management of DCIS. Teaching Faculty, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Department of Radiology Annual Course, Cayman Island, March, 1998.

10.   Swistel, A.J.: OB-Gyn Grand Rounds. Guest Speaker, New Developments in Breast Cancer Surgery, New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Campus, New York, New York, September, 1999.

11.   Chiu, A., Hoda, S., Swistel, A.J., Nowak, E., DeLellis, R.A., Rosen, P.: Sentinel Nodes Positive By Cytokeratin Only: Results in 20 Node Cases. The U.S. and Canadian Academy of Pathology, San Francisco, December, 1999.

12.   Swistel, A.J.: Surgical Grand Rounds. Guest Presentation, New York United Hospital Center. Sentinel Node Biopsy for Breast Cancer, New York, New York, January, 2000.

13.   Swistel, A.J., Kinne, D., Bleiweiss, F.: Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy, Role in DCIS-LCIS and Pathologic Viewpoint. Moderator, New York Metropolitan Breast Cancer Group, New York, New York, February, 2000.

14.   Swistel, A.J.: Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping, The 13th I. Joseph Aprile Distinguished Lecturer. Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens, Brooklyn, New York, April, 2000.

15.   Swistel, A.J., Hoda, S., Simmons, R.A., Nowak, E., Osborne, M.D.: Role of Cytokeratin Positive Cells in Sentinel Lymph Nodes in Breast Cancer Surgery. American Society of Breast Surgeons, Charleston, South Carolina, April, 2000.

16.   Swistel, A.J.: Update in Modern Breast Cancer Therapy. American Association of Operating Room Nurses, New York Chapter, New York, New York, April, 2001.

17.   Swistel, A.J.: Surgery in the 21st Century: The Centennial Alumni Celebration, Cornell Medical School Reunion, New York, New York, October, 2001.

18.   Swistel, A.J.: Advances in Breast Cancer Surgery, Guest Lecturer. Women at Risk, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York, May, 2001.

19.   Swistel, A.J., Smith, S.: Screening for Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Update. Curriculum Course for Primary Care. Columbia College of Physicians, New York, April, 2002.

Honors and Awards

2007-2011 Top Cancer Doctors in America, Castle Connolly; 2011 Top Doctors in the Tri-State Area, New York Magazine; 2007 Best Doctors in America.

Komen Award for Patient Video Presentation of Preparation for Breast Cancer Surgery, 2001, 2002.

Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping, The 13th I. Joseph Aprile Distinguished Lecturer. Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens, April 2000.

New York State Grant to Form a Breast Cancer Detection Program, St. Lukes Hospital, 1986.