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About Dr. Zemmel

Founder of Richmond Aesthetic Surgery, Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He is considered one of the best plastic surgeons in Richmond and the Mid-Atlantic area, with particular expertise in breast augmentation as well as advanced breast reconstructions and revisions.

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Dr. Zemmel attended Norfolk Academy preparatory school. He continued to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, graduating with Honors with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and a minor in Art History. He also concentrated on such areas as physics, mathematics, French, and literature. During his time at William and Mary, Dr. Zemmel was recognized for his work through several awards and scholarships.

With a passion for medicine, Dr. Zemmel then attended medical school at the University of Virginia, where he studied internal medicine, obstetrics, surgery, and pediatrics and had a total of four medical research papers published. He even earned the high score of 98% on the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam.

Dr. Zemmel was then selected into a six-year combined plastic surgery program at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond. He spent three years in general surgery, testing into the 90th percentile on the ABSITE General Surgery exam. Training included general, trauma, vascular, and transplant surgery with one full year focusing on learning techniques in the intensive care unit.

The next three years were focused on his plastic and reconstructive surgery training. This included head and neck reconstruction, head and upper extremity surgery, breast reconstruction, microvascular surgery, burn reconstruction, and cosmetic surgery. During his last year, Dr. Zemmel acted as Chief Resident of Plastic Surgery. He scored into the 92nd percentile on the Plastic Surgery In-Service Exam, and as a result, was given the S. Dawson Theogaraj Scholarship Award.


Following his medical training, Dr. Zemmel joined the medical center’s academic faculty, where he taught residents as well as conducted academic research. While on the staff, he performed complex surgeries of the head, neck, upper and lower extremities, such as traumatic and burn injuries of the face and hands.

In 2004 Dr. Zemmel entered private practice in Miami Beach, Florida. While here he practiced cosmetic plastic surgery in South Beach and the greater Miami area. He was featured in the media on several occasions for his expertise in the medical field, sharing his experience on the local news of Miami, West Palm Beach, and Richmond. Three years later, Dr. Zemmel returned to Virginia and founded Richmond Aesthetic Surgery.

After a consultation with one other surgeon I came to see Dr. Zemmel after a referral by a friend. I felt comfortable with him from the start. I reviewed his education and experience and decided to move forward with him. He answered all my questions and was great at putting me at ease. The front desk staff and assistants where also very helpful and friendly.

Erin B

March 03, 2017


In 2016, Allergan selected Dr. Zemmel as one of five plastic surgeons to participate in a special preceptorship under Dr. Charles Randquist, who is world-renowned for his skill in advanced cosmetic breast surgery. By having the privilege of completing this training, which took place in Stockholm, Sweden, Dr. Zemmel gained valuable hands-on experience creating remarkably aesthetic outcomes for complex cases.

With a commitment to helping others, Dr. Zemmel has traveled to Guatemala with Operation Kids as part of the surgical mission group founded by Dr. Austin I. Mehrhof. This cause visits the country yearly and provides cleft lip, cleft palate, and burn reconstructions.

In addition to his mission work, Dr. Zemmel is a published author of countless medical research papers, covering such topics as microsurgery, burn surgery, use of computers in the medical field, and cosmetic surgery. He has found a particularly fascinating niche to be the research of breast reconstruction and cosmetic breast and body surgery. Dr. Zemmel lectures on a variety of topics, including advanced liposuction techniques, artificial skin technology, breast reconstruction, and state-of-the-art facial rejuvenation techniques.

Dr. Zemmel has been featured in several media stories, during which he has shared information about state-of-the-art surgical techniques he performs as well as notable patients he has helped. He has been an educational resource through his news segments on NBC 6 for VASER® liposuction, FOX 29 for SmartLipo®, and The New York Times for the online tool known as Zwivel™. Dr. Zemmel has also detailed complex patient cases in the media, including a feature on the daytime talk show The Doctors for a body contouring after a teen’s major weight loss, and a segment on NBC 12 for a domestic violence victim’s breast revision to replace a ruptured implant. To learn more about Dr. Zemmel’s appearances, visit our in the media page.