Lu-Jean Feng, M.D.
Medical Director, Founder Board-Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
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Excerpt taken from “A Surgeon Builds a Business by Believing in Herself”
Written by Roger Mezger for The Plain Dealer July 30, 2008
“Dr. Lu-Jean Feng needed a new location as the Mt. Sinai Medical Center was closing in 2000. It seemed like the perfect time for the surgeon to start her own outpatient center. Her accountant advised her to [join another hospital instead.]
As the hospital’s head of microvascular plastic surgery, Feng had spent the previous 10 years focusing on breast reconstruction. She wanted to move into more facial and elective cosmetic surgery, so she wasn’t fazed when her new accountant told her that other plastic surgeons with outpatient surgery centers ended up selling or redirecting their businesses.
“He said, ‘So what makes you think you can make a go of it?’” Feng recalled of the meeting they had before she opened The Lu-Jean Feng Clinic in Pepper Pike.
“I told him that we can make every component of the surgical experience better by creating a [safe, relaxing and comfortable] atmosphere. . . . He didn’t get it,” Feng said.
Even though the accountant had good intentions, Feng’s reality is different from most people’s. It takes a lot more than a pessimistic conversation to dissuade someone who entered Yale at age 16. At age 12, she and her mother moved to the United States from Taipei, Taiwan to join her father.
“I could read English when I moved to the United States, but I had no comprehension,” she said. “It’s hard for a Chinese person to learn the language. I just studied really hard because I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was five.”
While Feng has always wanted to be a surgeon, she didn’t decide to specialize in reconstructive surgery until she was blown away by another surgeon’s skills she witnessed while doing a rotation in plastic surgery during an internship in San Francisco. A surgeon used tissue from a woman’s back to make a breast following… mastectomy.
“I thought it was so creative and wonderful to play a part in making a person whole again. It must be very difficult for a person to lose a body part,” she said. “When patients decide to come to a surgeon, they’re already courageous. They’re people who are not going to let breast cancer or losing a body part get them down. They want to continue living life to the fullest. But in order to do this, they first have to have surgery [to look and feel good about themselves].”
Feng is recognized nationwide for her expertise in the field of microvascular breast reconstruction involving transplantation of a patient’s own tissue, and facial cosmetic surgery. She’s written [many] articles about plastic and reconstructive surgery and [problems with breast implants], gaining her worldwide attention. A map in her conference room is riddled with pins representing patients from every state and many who came to her from abroad…”