The clinical associate professor of surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, practices in Pepper Pike, directing the Lu-Jean Feng Clinic, a three-story, 15,000-square-foot facility. There, she built an empire around the concept of health, beauty and wellness. The facility includes Dr. Feng's microvascular plastic and reconstructive surgery practice; an outpatient surgery center; a floor devoted to nonsurgical skin care and laser treatments; and a hair transplantation center and first-floor fitness and nutrition center.
"I just think that if you want to look beautiful, you have to be healthy inside and out. This practice encompasses everything that I believe in," Dr. Feng says.Her staff includes, among others, a colleague who specializes in endoscopic plastic surgery, nonsurgical facial rejuvenation and hair transplantation; a Chinese medicine specialist, who offers reflexology and massage therapy; and a team of personal trainers and nutrition experts.
"The health and well-being of my staff is equally as important to me as my patients' and the daily meals together really help to build camaraderie," Dr. Feng says. "All in all, it is more important to prevent disease than treat it. This practice is a marriage of the science and the mind — holistic, but at the same time, I am quite evidence-based."
Journey from afar
Dr. Feng emigrated with her family to the United States from Taiwan at age 12. Her father, a Chinese air force pilot and president of the air force attaché for Chinese military and political leader Chiang Kai-shek, fell in love with the United States.
"He wanted to bring his family over because this was the land of opportunity," Dr. Feng says. "When I came here, I was in eighth grade and could barely speak the language. We lived in a basement apartment, and I improved my English by watching TV, watching "Dark Shadows" and "Dick Cavett." I really studied hard, and my best subject was math, because it did not require any English."
A fast learner, Dr. Feng entered Yale University at age 16.
Although she did her thesis on heart transplants and was mentored by Norman Shumway, M.D., Ph.D., who in 1968 performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States and the fourth such transplant worldwide, it was her fascination with breast reconstruction surgery that persuaded her to go into microvascular surgery.
"I would take tissue from the abdomen and buttocks and reconnect it with vessels in the chest to create good circulation. Then, I would sculpt the donor tissue into a breast, combining a lot of the technically challenging aspects of microvascular surgery with the artistic aspects of plastic and reconstructive surgery. The marriage of the two has always intrigued me," she says.
Today, she relies on her microsurgery know-how to do facelift dissections and more.