Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS * †
Kasandra R. Dassoulas, MD
Megan J. Goff, PA-C
Rachel M. Duke, NP, CANS
Caitlin M. Roop, LME
Short Pump Office
11934 W Broad Street, Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23233

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Should You Tell Your Partner About Your Plastic Surgery?

Telling your partner, or anyone significant in your life, about your plastic surgery procedure is a very personal decision. If you wish to tell those closest to you, you should. We have had many partners, friends, and/or family members involved in the entire process of our patients’ plastic surgery experience: from the initial consultation to the final recovery day. However, if you wish to keep the matter private, then it is your right to do so. Other patients have chosen to undergo the process with only the confidence of our professional medical staff.

If you are still deciding on whether to keep your procedure private or not, it is best to spend some time reflecting on why you are having plastic surgery in the first place. If you are comfortable talking about the procedure, even the more intimate procedures, with your partner, your friends, and/or your family members, then perhaps you should go ahead and tell them. They can often provide a wealth of support and encouragement through your plastic surgery journey. For some patients, it might be better to wait until your treatment is over to talk to your loved ones. This can allow you to make the decision yourself, without outside influences. Still, some of our patients choose to keep their procedure to themselves, telling no one. The reasoning here could be that the ones closest to them may not support their decision.

No matter what road you take on your plastic surgery journey, please know that our Richmond plastic surgeon, Dr. Neil Zemmel, and our staff will be here to help guide and support you. To find a procedure that could be beneficial, please contact us today. We are also available to discuss your aesthetic goals or answer any questions you have regarding plastic surgery.

Devoted to Helping Breast Cancer Survivors Through Reconstruction

doctor-breast-cancerAccording to the American Cancer Society, approximately 12% of all women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. This can be a devastating disease, and we feel it is our calling to help these women pick up the pieces. Our goal is to restore their form and shape through breast reconstruction to help them feel whole again.

Our team treats all of our breast cancer patients with dignity, respect, and compassion, giving priority to these women. We offer the latest and most advanced surgical techniques for reconstruction–including tissue expander with breast implant reconstruction and autologous tissue reconstruction through TRAM, DIEP, and latissimus dorsi flaps. Dr. Neil Zemmel also specializes in single stage direct-to-implant reconstruction. In properly selected patients, this avoids the need for a tissue expander and completes reconstruction in one surgery.

Of the many ways we help people at Richmond Aesthetic Surgery, taking care of breast cancer patients is one of the most intellectual and rewarding parts. We see the physical and emotional toll this disease can have on an individual and their family, which is why we are devoted to helping breast cancer survivors through compassionate care as they decide whether or not reconstruction is right for them.

To learn about your breast reconstruction options, and which technique may be best for your needs, please contact us to schedule your consultation. Our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Zemmel would be honored to help you as you continue your road to recovery.

Richmond Aesthetic Surgery to Open New Office in Short Pump

shutterstock_247606717Our team is pleased to announce that Richmond Aesthetic Surgery will be opening a new medical office at Towne Center West in Short Pump, Virginia. Dr. Neil Zemmel looks forward to offering a wide range of plastic surgery procedures in the new location, providing added convenience for those living in or near Short Pump, where there are currently no medical practices available.

Construction will begin in August of this year, and the building is planned to be solely medical-related businesses. VCU Health System is also in the development of a new location, which will be directly next to our new office, allowing people to undergo a variety of medical care options in one concentrated area.

We look forward to expanding our practice into Short Pump and offering the local community high quality plastic surgery services. For more information about our new office, or to schedule your consultation with one of our board-certified surgeons, please contact us today!

Plastic Surgery Through the Ages: 40s, 50s, and Beyond

Photo - 40:50s womenAs discussed in our previous blog post about plastic surgery in the teenage years, 20s, and 30s, younger patients tend to show interest in such options as reconstruction, cosmetic enhancement, body contouring, and skin treatments. Our plastic surgeon has found that people in their 40s, 50s, and older tend to seek the help of a surgeon for more advanced solutions to combat aging.

Patients in their 40s, for instance, typically have concerns about sagging skin, wrinkles, and fine lines on the face that make them appear older than they feel. This age group also tends to desire an improved body shape. Popular procedures include facelift, eyelid and brow lift, tummy tuck, breast augmentation and lift, and injectables.

As patients enter their 50s, they often wish to undergo procedures to help them age more gracefully. With deep wrinkles and skin folds becoming more noticeable, facial plastic surgery and skin rejuvenation are common treatment options for many people in this age group. Body contouring is also favored by those in their 50s or older, since people want to achieve a more attractive and youthful shape. Popular procedures for these more advanced patients include lifting procedures (i.e. facelift, neck lift, brow lift, eyelid surgery), as well as tummy tuck and liposuction.

If you are considering plastic surgery, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon to learn more about how you can reach your aesthetic goals.

Plastic Surgery Through the Ages: Teenage Years, 20s, and 30s

Photo - Women Young to OldThere’s no doubt that people of all ages wish to improve certain parts of their appearance. While the specific concerns vary from person to person, our plastic surgeon, Dr. Neil Zemmel has noticed patterns among patients at Richmond Plastic Surgery. Depending on the age of a patient, there are procedures and treatments that tend to be popular.

While teenagers are not the most frequent visitors of a plastic surgery office, there are treatments that these patients tend to be interested in. Since there is a large psychological component to surgery at this age, procedures are strictly reconstructive until they reach the age of 18. Such reconstructive options include breast reduction, rhinoplasty, and otoplasty. In addition to these treatments, patients in their 20s tend to undergo enhancement and body contouring procedures, including breast augmentation and liposuction.

As people get into their 30s, they may begin to see the effect that aging has on the skin and body. Resulting from this, patients often look into such options as non-surgical facial rejuvenation and liposuction. This is also a common time for women to have children, which is why post-pregnancy concerns are also prevalent, with popular procedures being breast lift, breast enhancement, and tummy tuck.

Stay tuned for part two of our “Plastic Surgery Through the Ages” blog series to learn about popular procedures for people in their 40s, 50s, and beyond. If you wish to learn more about a specific procedure, or are interested in scheduling a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Zemmel, please contact our practice today!

So What is a Board Certified Surgeon Anyway?

We understand that it can be difficult and somewhat stressful to find the plastic surgeon that best fits your needs. It is important to choose a doctor that leaves a positive impression with you. The most typical questions we hear when patients call to find out information about our practice often involve questions about price. We agree price is very important when deciding if surgery is right for you. However, be weary at just looking at price and “the best deal!”  You may not realize the extent of how important it is that your surgeon is board certified and by whom they are certified by.

Alarmingly, many patients do not realize that ANY licensed physician of ANY specialty can call themselves a plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon. There is no law in most states to prevent this. This means that a doctor in any specialty can market themselves as a plastic surgeon and perform cosmetic surgery. You need to find out the credentials of your prospective surgeon and ensure that they are in fact board certified.

So if your plastic surgeon is board certified that’s good enough right? NO! Doctors can be “board certified” in 24 different specialties or even certified by non-accredited boards! That does not mean that they are certified as a plastic surgeon and are qualified to be performing plastic surgery procedures. Do your homework and make sure your doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). The ABPS is the only Plastic Surgery organization recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties which oversees the 24 specialties.

In order to be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery doctors must:

  1. Earn a degree from an accredited medical school
  2. Have a minimum of at least 5 years of formal residency training that includes at least 2 years in a residency program that focuses on plastic surgery techniques and is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education
  3. Have passed an extensive oral and written exam

It is a very long and demanding process to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is why plastic surgeons certified by ABPS are qualified for the job. You need to ensure that you are in the best hands when it comes to your surgery. Dr. Zemmel*†‡ is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Zemmel*†‡ is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the largest multiple specialty group of surgeons in the US.

If you are interested in having a consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Zemmel, please call our office at 804-423-2100.

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*Certified by American Board of Plastic Surgery
† Member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
‡ Member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Will Insurance Cover Breast Reconstruction, or is it Cosmetic?

BreastReconstructionBreast Reconstruction is not considered cosmetic surgery. While there is a cosmetic or aesthetic component to breast reconstruction, reconstructive surgery for cancer, trauma, or congenital abnormalities (birth defects) is not considered cosmetic. Under the Women’s Health & Cancer Act of 1998, all group health plans, insurance companies, and HMO’s that offer mastectomy coverage must also provide coverage for reconstructive surgery after mastectomy. This coverage includes:

  • Reconstruction of the breast removed by mastectomy
  • Reconstruction of other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance including breast augmentation, breast lifting, or breast reduction
  • Replacement and maintenance of breast implants used for reconstruction
  • Reconstruction of the nipple and areolar as well as areolar tattooing
  • Treatment of physical complications related to the surgery

This law sets a federal standard so women can obtain breast reconstruction following mastectomy even if they live in states that do not require insurance companies to provide this coverage.

In most cases, reconstruction to correct a lumpectomy deformity will also be covered by insurance. If your insurance carrier denies approval to have the type of reconstructive surgery you want, with a specific surgeon of your choice, you can appeal. It is important to check with your insurance carrier to find a surgeon that meets your reconstruction needs. It’s nice to know that the law is on your side.

Immediate vs. Delayed Breast Reconstruction

shutterstock_85934113A breast cancer diagnosis and concern for your health can sometimes overshadow the emotions that come with losing a breast. Living a long, cancer free life is the most important goal. But wanting to hold on to your femininity is just as essential to your well-being. If your surgeon recommends a mastectomy, in most cases you will have the option to choose immediate or delayed breast reconstruction. There is no absolute right or wrong choice, just which option best suits your situation and your needs.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both immediate and delayed breast reconstruction. While delaying reconstruction gives you time to focus on treatments and research what type of reconstruction best suits you, being without a breast can be emotionally devastating for some. Immediate breast reconstruction, performed at the time of mastectomy, has become the standard of care for most patients. The obvious benefit to immediate reconstruction is the psychological and aesthetic advantage of waking up post-mastectomy with reconstruction well underway. Immediate breast reconstruction can spare the patient additional stages of surgery and additional interruptions in her life.

Whether you choose to have immediate or delayed breast reconstruction, Neil J. Zemmel, MD approaches every case with care and concern tailored to the individual patient. Feel free to contact Richmond Aesthetic Surgery any time with questions or concerns or to schedule a consultation visit.

Richmond Plastic Surgeon on Most Popular Surgical and Nonsurgical Trends

plastic surgeon in richmond, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction

Dr. Neil Zemmel reviews the latest statistics obtained by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery to see how they compare to his Richmond plastic surgery practice.

Richmond, VA — According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the number of cosmetic surgeries performed each year has risen steadily since 1997 (the amount of procedures has increased almost 250%). Dr. Neil Zemmel, a plastic surgeon in Richmond, says he feels this is due to the advancements made in cosmetic procedures, both surgical and nonsurgical. With today’s technology, he says patients are seeing more consistency and an increased level of safety, making the procedures more appealing to a larger audience.

Breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tuck top the list as the most popular surgical procedures performed in 2012, according to the data. Dr. Zemmel agrees that the statistics are accurate when compared to the surgical procedures most often requested by his Richmond plastic surgery patients. He notes that breast reduction and breast lift were also extremely popular choices for his patients.

Nonsurgical procedures have also shown a significant increase over the years. BOTOX® Cosmetic proved to be the most frequently elected nonsurgical cosmetic procedure, followed by injectable dermal fillers, such as Juvéderm®. Dr. Zemmel explains that his practice continues to follow the trend shown by the ASAPS statistics when it comes to nonsurgical procedures, with the exception of laser hair removal. In the national statistics, laser hair removal is the third most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure. However, Dr. Zemmel says, “Since we live in Richmond, Virginia, the most tattooed city in the U.S., laser tattoo removal exceeds laser hair removal in our practice.”

Dr. Zemmel says his patient population is generally younger in age when compared to the national average. He adds that he sees many female patients ages 22-34 requesting mostly breast augmentation or other breast rejuvenation procedures – such as a breast reduction or lift. According to ASAPS, patients ages 35-50 received the most cosmetic procedures in 2012, representing 43% of all surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed. When reviewing these numbers, the Richmond plastic surgeon notes that his female patients in this age category typically elect to have procedures that will improve their look after having children, such as breast enhancements and body contouring, procedures that are typically combined in what is commonly referred to as a “mommy makeover.” Other popular procedures for this age group, according to Dr. Zemmel, include nonsurgical facial rejuvenation through injectable dermal fillers, medical grade skin care, BOTOX® Cosmetic, and laser treatments.

Overall, Dr. Zemmel felt that the statistics were fairly accurate when compared to his practice. He predicts that tattoo removal will continue to be a popular procedure for his patients, due to new laser technology which allows him to remove many different ink colors with a fewer number of treatments. He also expects to see a continued rise in requests for breast augmentation, noting that “our practice is becoming known regionally and state-wide for the quality and consistency of breast augmentation results. We strive to produce natural, proportional breast augmentation results with the least invasive surgical techniques available.”

About Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS

Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Neil Zemmel is a highly-trained plastic surgeon practicing in Richmond, VA. Although he has experience in a broad range of surgeries, he focuses his talents on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. He is an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the Medical Society of Virginia. Dr. Zemmel has also dedicated his time and skills to Operation Kids, a surgical mission group that travels to Guatemala annually, providing complex reconstructive surgery to those in need. Dr. Zemmel is available for interview upon request.

Richmond Plastic Surgeon Explains Body Contouring Options For Different Body Types

dr neil zemmel,   plastic surgeon in richmond,   plastic surgery in richmond,   tummy tuck,   liposuction

Dr. Neil Zemmel discusses how patients may benefit from a tummy tuck, liposuction, or a combination of the two.

Richmond, VA — Dr. Neil Zemmel, a plastic surgeon in Richmond, says his patients often express frustration over the difficulty of losing fat deposits on their body that seem resistant to diet and exercise. For these areas, surgical intervention is sometimes necessary. He acknowledges that all bodies are different and says a solution for one person may not be appropriate for another. Depending on each patient’s situation, Dr. Zemmel says he might recommend liposuction, a tummy tuck, or a combination of the two procedures. “Our comprehensive treatment plan is tailored to the patient’s individual body shape, goals, and desires,” he says.

In a blog post entitled, “What You Need To Know About The Tummy Tuck,” Dr. Zemmel says many patients consider a full or mini tummy tuck in order to remove excess skin after a pregnancy or extreme weight loss, get rid of severe stretch marks, or simply to flatten their abdominal wall and tighten the muscles underneath. He notes that some patients might also seek a tummy tuck to improve the shape or contour of their belly button. Dr. Zemmel explains some patients may also elect to undergo liposuction in combination with their tummy tuck in order to remove fatty deposits found in areas such as the flanks, back, and inner or outer thighs.

When considering a tummy tuck or liposuction, Dr. Zemmel cautions patients to be aware that there can be risks associated with these surgeries. He stresses the importance of patient safety, noting that at his Richmond plastic surgery practice he strives to provide the highest level of patient care through methods that will minimize complications and maximize healing at the surgical sites. He says this can lead to not only an excellent cosmetic result, but also a safe surgical recovery:

“Most of our body contouring patients are admitted to the hospital overnight for observation. This allows us to carefully monitor their recovery during the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. This period of time is critical in obtaining a safe and uncomplicated recovery and we believe is one of the main reasons our patients have an extremely low complication rate after surgery.”

The Richmond plastic surgeon urges those who feel these procedures may be right for them to seek consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. In consultations with his patients, Dr. Zemmel says he takes the time to get to know his patients on an individual level, discusses their surgical options, then conducts a physical exam in order to determine a comprehensive treatment plan that is personalized to them.

About Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS

Dr. Neil Zemmel is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. After medical school, he was selected to train in a highly competitive six-year plastic and reconstructive surgery program at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received comprehensive surgical training and performed many complex reconstructive procedures. He is currently an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Zemmel is available for interview upon request.

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