Professor Elisabeth Elder
Specialist Breast and Oncoplastic Surgeon
A/Professor Elisabeth Elder is a specialist breast surgeon and head of research at the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute. Privately she works through Specialist Services at the Lakeside Specialist Breast Clinic located in suite 3 at Lakeview Private Hospital.
Elisabeth studied medicine because it perfectly combined her passion for helping people, with her love of science. She was drawn towards working in breast surgery because she found connecting with and talking to women and helping them through a very stressful phase of their lives was very rewarding.
“I feel very privileged to be able to help women though a difficult phase of their lives. By taking time to help my patients understand their condition and the treatment options that are available, and then working cooperatively with them through the process, I can do something that really makes a difference every day of my life. I also love surgery – I always have – it’s a passion that’s stayed with me through my whole career. The technical aspects of surgery are often demanding and offer new challenges each day. Also the whole area of tumour biology is a fascinating and ever advancing field. Together with my team, we are constantly striving for better outcomes for our patients.”
Elisabeth is one of the surgeons at the forefront of developing oncoplastic surgical techniques, which means that in appropriate cases she concentrates on a good cosmetic outcome as well as treating her patient’s cancer. Oncoplastic surgery combines breast cancer surgery with plastic surgery. The combination of cosmetic and oncological treatments gives women more treatment options. For example Elisabeth might take out a cancer and do a breast lift or reduction as part of the same operation. For patients who need a mastectomy, Elisabeth offers a wide range of reconstructive options, including implant based reconstruction (with or without nipple preservation) and tissue based reconstruction in collaboration with her plastic surgical colleagues.
“As a result of oncoplastic surgery, patients have a better short and long term cosmetic outcome. Women feel normal again more quickly after their treatment and that helps them get on with their lives.”
A/Professor Elisabeth Elder graduated from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden in 1992. She then completed her general surgical training together with a PhD in tumour biology in 2002. After migrating to Australia, she specialised in breast cancer surgery at Concord Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Women and Royal North Shore Hospital. She completed her Australian surgical fellowship (FRACS) before taking up a staff specialist position in the Breast Cancer Institute at Westmead Hospital. Elisabeth returned to the Karolinska Hospital during 2009 to develop skills in oncoplastic breast surgery techniques.
Elisabeth is a Clinical Associate Professor at University of Sydney and head of research at the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute. She is involved in numerous research projects and clinical trials as well as teaching of medical students and trainees.
Elisabeth is an active member of Breast Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand and chair of the oncoplastic subcommittee, as well as being a member of other national and international breast societies. She is a council member of Breast Surgeons International and on the editorial board of World Journal of Surgery. She lectures frequently at national and international meetings and participates regularly in breast cancer education for medical professionals, students as well as patient groups and the broader community.