As the prevalence of diagnosed breast cancer increases, it is important to define how best to provide long-term follow-up. Whereas many aspects of follow-up remain controversial, guidelines recommend surveillance mammograms as the only investigation to be performed routinely. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to elucidate the effect of routine surveillance mammograms on detecting ipsilateral recurrence (IR) and contralateral breast cancers (CBC). The systematic review yielded 15 articles. All were observational studies and ranked as level II-2 or III evidence. There were no randomized controlled trials identified. Most of the ten studies on detection of IR did not report on outcomes after detection. When reported, most studies found that the method of detection of IR did not influence overall survival or disease-free survival. Two of the nine studies on detection of CBC found that the CBC was detected at an earlier stage than the initial breast cancer, but did not report on long-term outcomes. This systematic review highlights the need for further research to help better define the optimum surveillance mammography regimen.