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How Old Is Too Old for Breast Augmentation?

middle-age-woman-ponderingThere is no single “right” approach to breast augmentation, and each woman has her own unique reason for pursuing breast surgery. Whether the aim is to increase the size of the breast or improve the breast’s shape, Dr. Neil J. Zemmel can create a customized surgical plan designed to meet your needs. Throughout his years of experience, Dr. Zemmel has heard many questions from patients considering this popular procedure, one of which has been, “Am I too old for breast augmentation?”

At Richmond Aesthetic Surgery, we have worked with breast augmentation patients of all ages to help them achieve their personal cosmetic goals. Whether you are in your 20s, 60s, or beyond, Dr. Zemmel begins each breast augmentation consultation in the same way: carefully listening to your desires and expectations, performing a physical exam, reviewing your medical history, and presenting you with your best options. When determining candidacy for breast augmentation, your overall health is much more important than your age.

With a focus on providing thorough patient education, Dr. Zemmel can help you make an informed decision about your health and your body. For patients concerned with sagging breasts, a breast lift may be more appropriate for achieving a youthful appearance than breast augmentation. For other patients, breast implants can restore lost breast volume for a fuller, more contoured silhouette. Oftentimes, patients will choose to combine a breast lift with breast augmentation to optimize the outcome of their breast surgery. With his aesthetic eye and technical skill, Dr. Zemmel can achieve results that feel natural, look beautiful, and compliment your figure.

Contact Richmond Aesthetic Surgery

For more details regarding your breast augmentation options, please contact us today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Zemmel.

Types of Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy

women-breast-cancer-ribbonBreast cancer can be a traumatic life experience, both physically and emotionally. At Richmond Aesthetic Surgery, our team understands that no decision is an easy one when it comes to your treatment and potential reconstructive surgery. Should you wish to learn about your reconstruction options following a mastectomy, Dr. Neil Zemmel is committed to educating you about the pros and cons of the various surgical techniques, while helping you feel as comfortable as possible.

In general, there are three types of breast reconstruction after mastectomy:

Autologous Tissue Reconstruction uses your own tissue to recreate the breast. Common donor areas include the abdomen, back, and buttocks. A major benefit to this technique is the tissue grows with the patient and doesn’t require any future maintenance like a breast implant does. Using your own tissue can also provide a more natural look and feel, while achieving better symmetry when only having one breast reconstructed.

Prosthetic Reconstruction is a multi-stage procedure that involves the use of an implant. The technique is similar to a cosmetic breast augmentation, but since less tissue is available to cover the implant, a tissue expander is used on a temporary basis. Following your mastectomy, a new pocket is created, through which the expander is inserted. After about two weeks of healing, the expansion process begins. You will return each week to receive saline injections into the expander to gradually increase breast volume. Following this process, you will have around three months to heal, at which point the expander is removed and replaced with a permanent implant.

Autologous Tissue with Prosthetic Reconstruction combines both of the techniques above, only without a tissue expander. The most common type of flap used is the latissimus dorsi muscle flap technique, which entails harvesting muscle and skin from the back while tunneling the tissue beneath the skin. An implant is then inserted to achieve sufficient volume. With the many advancements in breast reconstruction surgery, microvascular surgery can allow you to reach optimal results with minimal trauma.

Contact Richmond Aesthetic Surgery

For more details regarding your breast reconstruction options, please contact us so we can schedule your consultation with Dr. Zemmel or Dr. Montante.

Can I Get a Breast Lift Without Implants?

shutterstock_112769767Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, can be performed with or without implants. When you come in for your consultation with Dr. Neil Zemmel, he will examine your needs and discuss your goals with you. While some patients require breast implants to achieve their ideal outcome, they are not always necessary.

The purpose of the breast lift is to elevate your breasts to a more youthful position, while reshaping the tissue to maintain a natural-looking contour. The areolas, or nipples, are also repositioned to a higher level on the chest and can be reduced in size if so desired. The end result entails firmer breasts with a restored projection on the chest wall, creating a more desirable profile.

When a patient opts for breast augmentation with a lift, this is typically because they desire added volume or more upper pole fullness. If you simply want to lift your breasts without increasing the size, a breast lift can be done without the use of implants. Overall, a good rule of thumb is this: if you are happy with your breast size when wearing a bra but unhappy with the sagging that occurs without that support, you are probably a good candidate for a lift without breast implants.

For more information about the breast lift procedure with or without implants, please contact Richmond Aesthetic Surgery to schedule your consultation!

Richmond Plastic Surgeons Utilize Innovative Technique to Improve Breast Reconstruction Results

Richmond, VA – At his center for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery in Richmond, Dr. Neil Zemmel has recently begun offering an advanced microsurgical technique for helping women with breast cancer restore their natural curves and rejuvenate their self-confidence. While traditional breast reconstruction has utilized synthetic implants, which oftentimes require replacement in the future, Dr. Zemmel is now utilizing Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator (DIEP) surgery to take tissue from one area of a woman’s body and then transfer it to the breast in order to sculpt a more natural recreation of what was removed due to cancer. As one of the few private practices to offer the innovative DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure, Dr. Zemmel says they are excited for an opportunity to improve the lives of women battling breast cancer and honored to help revive their sense of womanhood.

“Because DIEP flap reconstruction was not performed in the Richmond area until recently, women with breast cancer have been at a disadvantage,” says Dr. Zemmel. “We feel that all women should know and understand each option prior to their breast reconstruction and be able to choose the treatment that works best for them.”

Thanks to recent advancements in microsurgery, Dr. Zemmel says surgeons have been able to produce better results with less complications, higher-quality outcomes, and lower morbidity. The Richmond plastic surgeon says because the DIEP flap only takes skin and fat, not muscle tissue, from the abdomen, patients experience less weakness in that area. Dr. Zemmel also says the procedure provides better blood flow and less fat hardening than other microsurgery techniques such as TRAM reconstruction, so patients can enjoy a softer, more supple breast.

Generally considered one of the most complex techniques for performing breast reconstruction, Dr. Zemmel says the DIEP flap procedure is performed predominantly at large academic centers; however, Dr. Zemmel has been able to bring the treatment to Richmond. He says the difficulty and intricacies of microsurgery demand rigorous training, since many of the sutures and blood vessels involved in the procedure are smaller than a human hair. Dr. Zemmel says despite the complexity of the DIEP flap reconstruction, the reward is well worth the effort.

“DIEP surgery involves microsurgical skills and techniques that require extensive training over many cases,” says Dr. Zemmel. “Knowing how to use the instruments, the microscope, suturing, and thousands of intricacies of microsurgery ensures we are able to consistently produce safe and effective outcomes. We are dedicated to being able to finally offer these procedures to the women who deserve them.”

Dr. Zemmel says a typical patient will stay in the hospital for three to four days after surgery to recover, although it can take up to two weeks before patients feel like they have most of their energy back. He says physical therapy is an important part of any postoperative breast reconstruction course, and staying motivated is essential to a healthy result. As with any surgical procedure, whether it be an aesthetic breast lift or a breast reconstruction, Dr. Zemmel encourages all patients to consult with a board-certified, dedicated plastic surgeon so as to ensure their treatment is performed with precision as well as compassion.

“Being diagnosed with breast cancer is an extremely difficult time, and we understand how tough the decisions are that lay ahead of women,” says Dr. Zemmel. “Our pledge has been to always listen, explain the various options, answer all questions, and ultimately allow the patient to decide which reconstruction is best for their body.”

About Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS

Dr. Neil Zemmel graduated from the College of William and Mary, after which he earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia Medical School. He completed a combined six-year plastic surgery training program at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, where he served as Chief Resident of Plastic Surgery during his final year. Dr. Zemmel is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He also volunteers his time to local and international medical missions organizations such as Operations Kids, traveling to Guatemala to perform cleft lip, cleft palate, and burn reconstruction.

Located at 611 Watkins Centre Parkway Suite 350 in Midlothian, VA 23114, Richmond Aesthetic Surgery can be reached at (804) 423-2100. The practice can also be contacted online via the websites or

Smaller Lighter Breasts with Breast Reduction

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”  With the rise of breast augmentations, the trend seems that “bigger is better”, but there are thousands of women that suffer from physical and emotional pain from large breasts.  Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain are common among women with large breasts.  Large breasts may make physical activity difficult or uncomfortable and self-confidence low because you feel that this is not the body you were meant to have.  Richmond Aesthetic Surgery can alleviate both the emotional and physical pains caused by large breasts.

Breast Reduction surgery is designed to create smaller lighter breast that are proportional to the rest of your body.  During breast reduction surgery, they are able to remove fatty tissue, glandular tissue and in some cases, excess skin.  When needed they may reposition the areola or alter its shape and size to create a more natural appearance.

If you are interested in breast reduction surgery, feel free to contact our office for a complimentary consultation.  Breast Reduction surgery is sometimes covered by your insurance so  please have your insurance card or information available when calling and we can provide you with the appropriate information.

Hairy Situations

As we age, our hormones go into a million different directions.  You may notice more “peach fuzz”, stray wiry hairs that came out of nowhere, changes in color or texture of hair that is on your face or body.  There are many over the counter solutions out there.  Richmond Aesthetic Surgery offers two that may be a better benefit for you.  The first is dermaplaning, a procedure in which a certified aesthetician gently removes the top layer of skin—and any excess hair—with a surgical blade.  It is essentially a deep exfoliation and will leave your face fuzz free and radiant.  The other is laser hair removal.  Laser hair removal is great for those stray coarse hairs that either appears alone or in clusters.  Wherever and whatever your need for smooth, hair-free body parts is, we can help you find a solution!  Contact us anytime for a complimentary consultation.

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