Dr. Zachary Zimmerman of Beloit Health System combinines passion and plastic surgery to help patients feel better about the way they look.
There are many reasons why a person might need facial surgery. Some people cannot see or breathe properly without eyelid surgery or rhinoplasty, respectively. Some people require facial reconstruction due to skin cancer or a trauma they experienced. Others seek the confidence that facial surgery can provide, whether it be from a mole removal, scar revision or other cosmetic procedures like a rhytidectomy (facelift).
As a facial plastic surgeon and board-certified otolaryngologist – an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist – Dr. Zachary Zimmerman does all of this and more at Beloit Health System’s NorthPointe Health and Wellness Campus, 5605 E. Rockton Road, Roscoe, Ill., and at Beloit Clinic, 1905 E. Huebbe Pkwy, Beloit.
In addition to performing general ENT surgeries, he offers a full range of facial cosmetic procedures.
“I was hired so people wouldn’t have to travel to Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago for their surgeries,” Zimmerman says. “People in Beloit are very loyal to the health system. They don’t want to leave – they want to stay here for their care. I’ve encountered so many patients who are enthralled that we offer these surgeries within our health system, and I’m glad to provide them.”
From his childhood, Zimmerman knows the importance of having a competent, compassionate surgeon. When he was just a young kid growing up in Orlando, Fla., dreaming of someday becoming a journalist or NBA athlete, his mom faced the difficult news of being diagnosed with breast cancer. She required countless surgeries, Zimmerman recalls, but thankfully, her medical team was excellent. “Her surgeons not only resected and treated the cancer but also helped shape my mom back into the woman she was before,” he says. “I saw that patient-surgeon relationship, and I knew I wanted to perform surgery in some way, shape or form. It really piqued my interest in reconstructive surgery as well.”
His specific interest in ENT and facial plastics developed later, during medical school. Zimmerman completed his residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Augusta University Health/Medical College of Georgia. After that, he completed a fellowship in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at Northwestern Medicine, in Chicago.
Zimmerman sees a wide range of patients, both pediatric and adult, for procedures that help restore function or aesthetics, and sometimes both. His day-to-day operating schedule includes eyelid surgery, brow lifts, facelifts and neck lifts, rhinoplasty for both breathing and appearance, scar revision and non-surgical services like Botox and fillers. He also performs general ENT procedures involving the tonsils, adenoids and sinuses.
“I like ENT because it is an intricate and delicate field. Success or failures are measured by millimeters because the procedural area is microscopic. Specific attention to detail is necessary,” Zimmerman explains. “The surgeries make a significant difference in patients’ lives, whether it’s hearing, breathing or lack of sleep.”
Many of the procedures Zimmerman performs are both cosmetic and functional.
“One example of a tandem procedure would be the cosmetic and functional rhinoplasty,” he says. “Patients who have a deviated septum, nasal obstruction, difficulty breathing, can also be displeased with a bump on their nose or a large tip. I’ve had patients say, ‘My nose looks like a witch, and I actually like wearing masks now.’ Their self-perception of a cosmetic deformity is so serious that at times it is debilitating. They avoid leaving the house or even working in the public sector. By operating on these patients, I am able to medically and cosmetically improve nasal obstructions and appearance. Nasal obstructions can also interfere with sleep and after nasal surgery, patients are finally able to sleep 7 to 8 hours at night.”
Zimmerman also operates on patients who have heavy, sagging brows that often interfere with their eyesight. By lifting the brow, not only can a patient improve their vision, but they can look more youthful and less tired, Zimmerman says.
However, patients don’t always need a functional or medical reason to seek treatment from Zimmerman. Oftentimes, facial plastic surgery is about helping patients cosmetically and emotionally, he says.
“It helps patients live their best lives, especially in their golden years,” he says. “Some people are really bothered by a mole on their face, or a scar they have from an accident, and being able to restore that confidence in people is what made me want to be a facial plastic surgeon. It allows people to forget their past catastrophic injuries or trauma.”
Cosmetic procedures may include brow lifts, upper and lower eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, scar or mole removal, face or neck lifts and more.
“Even though some people might not notice it, if it bothers you, it’s something you see in the mirror every day,” Zimmerman says. “It can be life-changing, and it makes me feel fulfilled to help people gain the confidence to go out into the world with their best face on.”
For most of Zimmerman’s surgeries, little preparation is required of patients. However, like most surgeries, recovery is essential. Depending on the procedure, healing can take 7-10 days but varies.
Zimmerman makes patient education a priority by giving specific pre- and post-procedure instructions.
“Our staff does a superb job contacting patients well before their procedure, and the majority of patients come in two weeks before surgery so I can answer any remaining questions,” he says. “During the morning of surgery, I of course address any concerns before proceeding. Many procedures are performed under light sedation with local anesthesia in my procedure room at NorthPointe, avoiding the operating room altogether. It’s a very relaxed environment.”
It’s not uncommon for Zimmerman to operate on the friends and family members of his previous patients.
“It’s an honor to have people trust me with their family members,” he says. “My goal is to treat every patient as I would my own relative. It is a privilege to be able to take care of the Beloit and state-line population. I have enjoyed serving this wonderful community and becoming a part of it.”
For questions about cosmetic procedures or to reach Zimmerman directly, email [email protected] For cosmetic appointments or scheduling a cosmetic consult, call (815) 525-4534. For general ENT appointments call (815) 525-4500.