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Asian American Plastic Surgeon Number One in Central Valley

Asianweek, News feature, Marie-Lorraine Mallare Posted: May 28, 2008

STOCKTON, Calif. Dr. Hugh Vu, voted the top plastic surgeon in the Central Valley by San Joaquin Magazine readers for the past two years, helps make each patient a renewed person.

Vu will next bring his expertise to Asia, traveling on a mission in June to the Philippines and Vietnam as well as responding to the recent earthquake victims in China.

Vu is part of a team of doctors and other medical professionals that provides free reconstructive surgery through medical missions sponsored by Rotoplast, an organization linked to rotary clubs around the world. He has operated globally in indigent areas of Peru, Bolivia, the Philippines and Vietnam, performing surgical procedures on children who would otherwise be unable to afford it.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Vu immigrated to Southern California in 1976. The eldest son of two physicians, he intended to become a neurologist, but was eventually drawn to plastic surgery. I did research on Lou Gehrigs disease, a progressive degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control your voluntary muscles. A young woman I knew, at the age of 28, died of this disease, which I was researching, Vu said. That could have been me. So I took another look at my life and took this road.

Vu attended University of the Pacific in Stockton and then Loma Linda University for his medical degree. After doing a residency at San Joaquin General Hospital, he did fellowships at UC Davis Shriners Hospital for Children of Northern California, the University of Oklahoma, Lennox Hill Hospital, and the Manhattan Eye and Ear Institute in New York. Today he juggles a private practice in Stockton with being a chief surgeon at Shriners Hospital and an associate professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

The misconceptions of plastic surgery are many because it is a field of non-insurance, according to Vu. Many claim to be cosmetic surgeons, which is different from being board-certified plastic surgeons, who must uphold regulations set by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. There are a lot of people trying to get in it because its a lot of cash money drives it, Vu said. Hollywood and Dr. Ray of Dr. 90210 is not what Im about.

Then there is the myth of plastic surgery as a means of losing weight. Vu emphasizes that plastic surgery is contour and shaping. You cannot lose weight from plastic surgery its just not possible. You still need to exercise and eat the right foods.

San Francisco personal trainer Nate Miyaki agrees that plastic surgery works from the outside in. While breast augmentation and liposuction might give you the look you are after, it does little to improve your overall health profile, Miyaki said. Eating right and exercising works from the inside out. Not only will you improve your body composition through training and a proper diet, but you will also be doing things like reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The most sought out procedures are a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and breast augmentation. Good candidates are healthy, do not have life-threatening illnesses or medical conditions that can impair healing, are non-smokers, and those with specific goals in mind for body contouring, according to Vu.

Vus advice to the Asian Americans interested in plastic surgery is to first do research and have a consultation to learn about the procedure, which will include a discussion of goals and an individual evaluation.

Vu has a special way of caring for his patients, said Lisalou Sison-Nosce, a patient of Vus and a real estate broker in the Bay Area. Thats what makes him top of his game.

For more information: vuplasticsurgery.com

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