Hype Style/Beauty

Published on June 9th, 2023 | by Crystal Willis


Lipedema Surgeon Dr. Thomas Su Shares His Artistic Approach to Treating the Disfiguring Fat Disorder During Lipedema Awareness Month

Media has been ablaze with news surrounding the risks of cosmetic surgery after the recent death of influencer Jacky Oh, but for some women, it’s a necessary medical treatment option for a debilitating and disfiguring medical condition. Despite the fact that an estimated 11 percent of women worldwide suffer, Lipedema is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed by the medical profession as obesity. As a black woman who suffers from Lipedema and secondary Lymphedema, I was intrigued to sit down just before Lipedema Awareness Month with Dr. Thomas Su, a board-certified cosmetic surgeon based in Tampa, FL known for his unique skills in body sculpting and Lipedema treatment using liposuction. In my interview, I was honored to learn more about Lipedema and how he’s helping women all over the world through his keen approach and his book, “Celebrity Arms in A Day.”

“Women are prone to lipedema flare-ups during times of hormonal upheavals, like puberty or menopause. If your legs develop large column-like shapes and are disproportionate to the rest of your body, you may have this permanent condition. Bruising, tenderness, loss of mobility, and physical pain are all signs,” he says.

Lipedema is a hereditary abnormal fat disorder that can cause disproportion in the extremities, joint pain, fibrotic tissue, and lymphatic complications. Liposuction is considered a more aggressive yet effective medical solution to treating the uncurable condition and reducing pain levels. What sets Dr. Thomas Su apart from other professionals in his field is how he blends his unique background in fine art to utilize in his Lipedema treatment, making him a go-to for patients all around the world.

“I am a doctor specifically treating lipedema who is very concerned about cosmetic appearance because I come from a cosmetic background. I can draw very accurately what my patient’s new shape is going to be, and I think I achieve quite a much better cosmetic outcome than most doctors who aren’t as focused on that component or may not have the experience I do in working in that area,” he shares.

Dr. Su didn’t just stumble into treating so many patients suffering from this underdiagnosed condition. His career journey trying to master many different fields and attending an art school has prepared him to be a leader in this space. One of the most important aspects of treatment for Dr. Su is helping his patients feel better about their appearance. He says many who are suffering from the disease say the psychological impact takes a great toll on them.

“I would say that my patients are extremely concerned about the emotional impacts of this disease process as it pertains to how the appearance of their legs has been, and the experience of being the target of bullying or negative comments from friends or family.  Quite a few, if not all of the patients that I treat, are uncomfortable with showing their legs, wearing shorts, wearing certain types of shoes, and always covering up.  It’s affected these patients, whether they’re 30, 40 or 50 years old, most of their lives,” he says.

Dr. Su treats patients around the world and in the ever-growing landscape of advancing technology, he’s made a virtual consultation available for patients.

“Our virtual consultation process is what we use for everybody, even if they live in Tampa, we’ve completely eliminated the in-office consult. There’s a questionnaire about a patient’s history, where they’ve had anything done before, what areas they are interested in, and includes instructions for how to take pictures of the area that their other body that they’re interested in treating. I can take a picture of your legs or your arms, and I can draw on it in two seconds like an artist. As I draw on these photos, it just becomes revealed what a person’s new shape will be.”

Dr. Thomas Su helps patients with just more than Lipedema. His book, “Celebrity Arms in A Day: Body Sculpting with the New Interactive Lipo Method”, is a detailed look into how to give readers the tools and confidence they need to make their arms feel as good as the rest of their bodies.

“Celebrity Arms in a Day describes something that I’ve been doing which has been unique and very advanced compared to what everybody else does all the cosmetic doctors have been doing for years. I developed a process of sculpting circumferentially around the arms, not just going all the way around but doing it in a very complete high-definition manner,” he says.

As he explains his process, the pieces of the puzzle that make Dr. Thomas Su’s book and services so sought after make more and more sense as readers begin to understand his approach to each individual patient.

“A nice to find look where you can see the muscle groups are the deltoid and biceps triceps. At the same time getting a fantastic skin retraction that for patients with only a small amount of laxity would pull up completely and avoid any kind of skin tuck and for patients with even a larger hang up to an inch of hanging or inch and a half to still see a huge retraction and come up with a result maybe with a smaller amount of wrinkles. So, my celebrity arms are a unique thing because all doctors are taught never to go circumferential to only remain in the underside of the arm,” he says.

Dr. Su’s human body sculpting approach is what led him to where he is now, and the skies are the limit for the experienced doctor. It’s clear that he takes pride in an artistic approach to treating Lipedema, and the results speak for themselves.

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About the Author

Crystal Willis is an Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Entertainment Publicist and CEO of The Omni Firm. She is also a Transformational Life Coach and Founder of The Crysalis. Her personal story has been seen by millions of people on media outlets like Marie Claire Magazine, PBS, Blaze TV, Daily Signal and more.

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