Dr. Swistel graduated from Harvard University and completed his medical school training at Brown University Medical School. He did his surgical residency at St. Luke's- Roosevelt Hospital Center, and then completed the two-year surgical oncology fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center. At the completion of his fellowship, he joined the surgical Attending staff at the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and subsequently became the Chief of Breast Surgery. In 1996, he was recruited by New York Hospital and joined the Attending staff in surgery. He was instrumental in coordinating the efforts to develop the Weill Cornell Breast Center and became the Director of the Program. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor at the Weill Cornell Medical College and Associate Attending in the Department of Surgery and is the former Chief of the Section of Breast Surgery.
Dr. Swistel is an acknowledged expert in the field and has pioneered many improvements in the delivery of breast cancer care for his patients over the years. He has been included on multiple best doctor lists and is widely quoted as an expert in the field by the media and is listed in the Whose Who's in America. He first developed an early protocol using laser guided destruction of small breast tumor as a way to minimize surgical scars. Later, he performed the first skin sparing mastectomy in New York City in 1991. That technique did much to minimize the surgical defect related to standard radical mastectomy and the technique was combined with immediate reconstruction. In 1986, he established the first Comprehensive Breast Center in Manhattan at the S1. Luke's Hospital. This served as a model for subsequent Breast Centers throughout the city including the Lauder Center at Memorial Hospital and the present Weill Cornell Breast Center. Recognizing that the minority population sometimes had difficulty in accessing good breast care he received a special grant from the state to focus on screening of minority patients. This program was adopted by the New York State legislature and it continues to this day. Along with Dr. Peter Pressmen he was one of the first physicians in New York to pioneer sentinel lymph node biopsy, a new technique for minimizing axillary surgery for breast cancer patients. He has been in the forefront of Oncoplastic surgery that combines proper cancer surgery principles for care along with cosmetic techniques to minimize scars. Most recently he improved a technique of nipple sparing mastectomy, which leaves the patient with virtually no visible incision. He has lectured widely on the topic of breast cancer surgery and prevention strategies and runs a high risk program at Cornell for patients who are at elevated risk for developing breast cancer. He is past President of the New York Metropolitan Breast Cancer Group, which is the oldest and largest regional group of breast cancer specialists in the nation.