NewBeauty Top Doctor Since 2008

Dr. Ruth Hillelson

Plastic Surgeon
9930 Independence Park Drive, Suite 101, Richmond, VA, 23233
We help reverse the signs of aging without surgery.

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With a combination of in-depth knowledge, innovative techniques and cutting-edge technology, Dr. Ruth Hillelson ensures that her patients have the most up-to-date treatments available to meet their aesthetic needs. Her experience as a former research chemist associate at Harvard inspired her to continue to examine, analyze and explore all aspects of plastic surgery. She has led presentations at surgical conferences around the world and has won the National Pinnacle Award for her lectures on noninvasive radio-frequency treatments at the International Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s annual meeting. Her experience and background make her a leading expert on the latest surgical and noninvasive solutions.

About My Practice

How would you describe your operating room style?

It's very focused.

What medical-based organizations are you affiliated with?

I am a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and the Medical Society of Virginia. I am also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. My involvement in these organizations enables me to interact with other leaders in the community, sharing techniques, ideas, procedures and advice on what I have found to be effective methods of patient care.

How many years has American Self been operating?

I founded American Self 14 years ago with my husband, orthopedic surgeon and researcher Dr. Terry Whipple. Together we offer our patients a comprehensive menu of care, which includes everything from advanced technology and combination therapies to wellness and orthopedic medicine.

About Me

What alternative occupation would you choose?

I'd be a research chemist.

What alternative occupation would you choose?

I'd be a research chemist.

What are some of your favorite pastimes?

When not in the office, I like horseback riding.


College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Harvard School of Medicine, Harvard University
General Surgery, University of Virginia
Plastic surgery, University of Kansas
Johns Hopkins University
Plastic, Maxillofacial, and Craniofacial Surgery, University of Virginia


Board Certification:

American Board of Plastic Surgery


American College of Surgeons, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Fellow, American College of Surgeons

A Minute With

  1. What has been your happiest professional moment?

    Being able to help my patients overcome what they consider to be overwhelming physical obstacles to improve their lives

  2. What do you love most about your profession?

    I love the creativity, the positive mood, the changing technology and techniques and applications

  3. What is the most inspirational thing you have learned this year?

    Never underestimate the power of listening

  4. What is the future of your field?

    I believe that we will see enormous
    increases in the capability of
    technology and opportunities
    for combined surgical and
    technological approaches

  5. Three words that best describe me

    Warm, interested, empathetic

  6. How would you spend extra time in a day?

    I would devote more time to
    the expansion of my skin care
    line Iridesse

  7. My best advice for patients

    Fix what bothers you.
    If it doesn’t bother you,
    leave it alone

  8. My motto

    The patient is my
    first priority

  9. How has your profession changed since you started?

    Plastic surgery in general has always
    been strong in reconstructive as
    well as cosmetic—by definition.
    Now I see more plastic surgeons
    who go straight to cosmetic and
    bypass reconstructive surgery


  • Botox® Cosmetic
  • Restylane® Silk
  • Juvéderm®
  • Kybella®
  • Lip Augmentation
  • Sclerotherapy
  • CoolSculpting® “Plus”
  • Body Contouring
  • BodyFX™
  • Thermage® FLX
  • Votiva™
  • Fractora™
  • Forma Plus™
  • Apollo TriPollar RF
  • VoluDerm
  • Microneedling
  • ProFractional™ Laser
  • Clear + Brilliant®
  • PicoSure®
  • BBL Laser Therapies
  • Morpheus8™ Skin Tightening


  1. How does Botox actually work? Is it safe?
    What our experts say:

    It's a muscle paralytic, and it is safe when it is used correctly. Make sure you use BOTOX Cosmetic rather than a black market product; and make sure it is used appropriately. Do not overdose.

  2. After facial rejuvenation treatments, what's the best way to maintain the results?
    What our experts say:

    If you do nothing else, use sunscreen; but a daily good skin regimen should include sunscreen, an appropriate serum or topical treatment and a good moisturizer. You should also include periodic treatments or microdermabrasion or skin peels, facials, Clear + Brilliant and skin tightening, like Thermage. This is in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

  3. Are different fillers used in specific areas?
    What our experts say:

    It depends on the needs and skin type of patient. Around the eyes, I would use a light amount of Restylane or Hylaform, a more dilute hyaluronic acid. Others are too thick. If a patient has delicate skin in their nasolabioal folds, I would use Restylane; if they have heavy lines or acne scars, I would use JUVEDERM.

  4. Are laser skin resurfacing treatments painful?
    What our experts say:

    No. With the different laser treatments we use topical Lidocaine for numbing. The patient sits with the topical on their face for 10-15min before the treatment. The lasers themselves are quite tolerable. After Clear + Brilliant the face feels warm, and is pink for a couple of hours, but not red. After fractionating lasers, the face feels like it has a sunburn for a good half-hour to an hour.

  5. Are there different types of chemical peels? How do I know which one is right for my skin?
    What our experts say:

    There are different types of light peels - you can use vitamin c; or a very light retinoic acid peel.

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