The h index is used to assess an individual's contribution to the literature. This metric should not be employed to compare individuals across research areas; rather each subject should have its own baseline and standard. This work aimed to identify global bibliometric benchmarks for those involved in breast cancer research, and specifically, to describe the bibliographic characteristics of breast surgeons in the UK and Ireland. Authorship data was extracted from breast cancer related output from 1945 to 2008, as indexed in the Web of Science. Authors' publications, citations and h indexes were identified. The breast-related output of 277 UK and Irish breast surgeons was evaluated, and a citation report generated for each. Strong correlation was noted between the h index and number of publications (r = 0.642, P < 0.001) and number of total citations (r = -0.922, P < 0.001). The author with the highest h index is B Fisher (h index = 80). 23.0% of surgeons had not published original research pertaining to the breast; the remainder had together produced 2,060 articles, accounting for 59,002 citations. The top quartile was responsible for 83% of output; the 90th percentile was 20 publications. The range of h index values for the surgeons was 0-50, with a median h index returned of 3 (IQR 1-6); the 90th percentile was 13.5. This work has identified bibliometric benchmarks to which those involved in breast cancer research might aspire. Our findings suggest that there is need for wider involvement of surgeons in the research process and raises questions regarding the future of scientific breast surgery.