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Vincent C. Hung, MD, MOHS Surgery, Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery

Category: Mohs Surgery

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4 Ways You Can Get Skin Cancer Besides Sunlight

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

Medical examination to determine if moles are cancerous.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are the biggest and most well-known cause of skin cancer. However, other factors at play affect the health of our skin. This blog discusses how skin tone, moles, lifestyle choices, and other factors can impact your risk of developing skin cancer.

9 Minute Read:

What Is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at least three million people are being affected by non-melanoma types of skin cancer every year. It occurs when abnormal cells in the epidermis (outermost layer of the skin) grow uncontrollably due to unrepaired DNA damage, leading to mutations.

What Are the Different Types of Skin Cancer?

The three most common types of skin cancer include the following:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells from the basal cells in the epidermis (outermost layer of skin) that typically develops on areas of the skin exposed to the sun
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells from the squamous cells in the epidermis (outermost layer of skin) that typically develops on areas of the skin exposed to the sun
  • Melanoma: the most dangerous type of skin cancer that occurs when melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) in the skin become cancerous.

Can Skin Picking Cause Cancer?

Although frequent picking or scratching of the skin can cause damage to the skin, researchers have not discovered a causative link between this unhealthy habit and skin cancer.

Is Skin Cancer Only Caused By the Sun?

We are constantly warned that sun exposure causes skin cancer, and it is true that ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is responsible for more skin cancer cases than anything else. However, the sun is not the only threat to the health of your skin.

What Is the Most Common Form of Skin Cancer Which Is Not Related to Sun Exposure?

Melanoma is a common form of skin cancer that can appear in locations of the body areas with little to no exposure to the sun or UV rays.

Can You Get Melanoma Without Sun Exposure?

Yes, melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, even in locations not heavily exposed to the sun, such as the bottom of the hands and feet, inside the mouth, and even under the nails.

Common Risk Factors and Possible Causes of Skin Cancer Other Than the Sun and UV Rays

Skin cancer has many causes and types, including the risk factors discussed below. It’s essential to educate yourself about skin cancer to protect your health and the health of your loved ones. Below are four common risk factors and possible causes of skin cancer besides the sun and UV rays.

1. Skin Tone

Skin cancer can affect people regardless of skin tone; however, those with less pigment (melanin) in their skin are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. It is estimated that Caucasian men over 50 have the highest risk of getting melanoma due to a reduced amount of pigment in the skin.

How Is Skin Tone Related to Sunburn?

We know to proceed with caution when basking in the sun’s rays, but the risk doesn’t end when our day in the sun is over. Many misconceptions exist about the relationship between sunburn, skin tone, and skin cancer.

Sunburn is an inflammatory skin reaction that occurs after prolonged exposure to sunlight. Anyone can get a sunburn, but those with fairer skin and freckles are more prone to them.

It’s important to note that while darker skin tones are less likely to get sunburn, it is still a possibility–and it’s less visible on darker skin. Additionally, skin cancer is often noticed in its more advanced stages in darker skin, when it’s much more difficult to treat. If you have darker skin, be sure to monitor your skin regularly and report any changes to your doctor immediately.

Does Sunburn Cause Skin Cancer?

Sunburn damages the skin, and cell damage can contribute to the development of cancer. Although one sunburn doesn’t immediately spell skin cancer, even one instance of sunburn can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Prevention is key. Limit your time in the sun and protect your skin whenever you’re outdoors. Wearing clothing and hats with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 30 or higher is one of the best ways to protect your skin from the sun. In addition, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to exposed skin—regardless of season (summer, winter), weather (hot, cold), or sky conditions (sunny, cloudy).

Does Sunscreen Cause Skin Cancer?

Some people have concerns about chemicals in sunscreen. Remember, chemicals are just molecules and aren’t inherently good or bad. Currently, there is no scientific evidence that sunscreen can cause skin cancer. If anything, it’s the inactive ingredients in sunscreen, such as fragrances and preservatives, that can cause sensitivity or an allergic reaction. It’s a good idea to test for sensitivity to new products on an inconspicuous area of the body before use.

People who use any type of sunscreen can still develop skin cancer, often because of sun exposure earlier in life. Using sunscreen can reduce the risk of melanomas and carcinomas by almost half. Find a sunscreen that works for you, and apply it 15–30 minutes before going outside.

A dark silhouette of a woman stands in front of the ultraviolet blue glow of a tanning bed.

2. Tanning Beds

Indoor tanning beds are often promoted as a safer and faster alternative to long hours laying out in the sun. This is not true. Indoor tanning devices increase the risk of developing BCC by 24% and SCC by 58%. In addition, studies have shown a causative link between indoor tanning and melanoma in younger women and men. Using indoor tanning devices before age 20 can increase the risk of developing melanoma by 47%, and that risk continues to increase with each use.

The UV radiation exposure caused by tanning beds is completely avoidable. For the sake of your health, consider embracing your natural skin tone or use a DHA-based spray tan to achieve a safer glow.

Can Infrared Light Cause Skin Cancer?

Different kinds of light waves, including UV, visible, and infrared light, can all impact your skin. On their own, visible and infrared light don’t cause sunburn or skin cancer. In combination, however, all three forms of light waves can penetrate the deeper layers of skin and contribute to cell damage.

3. Moles

In most cases, moles are harmless and will not develop into cancer. However, the more moles you have, the higher your risk of developing cancer.

Many cells in a mole contain cancer-related genes that cause them to grow and multiply. These genes are often dormant, but this may not always be the case.

Can a Mole Become Cancerous Without Sun Exposure?

Although rare, other factors, such as viruses, chemical exposure, and other environmental pollutants, may contribute to the development of melanomas. More research is required to validate these claims, but they serve as a reminder to be mindful of your environment and maintain health checkups.

If you have multiple moles, it’s wise to keep regular appointments with a dermatologist for thorough skin exams.

4. Smoking

Usually, when we think of smoking, we relate it to cancers of the lungs, mouth, or throat. You may be surprised to know that smoking can also have a significant effect on the development of skin cancer.

Smoking can increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, especially on the lips. It’s possible that smoking also decreases immune function, which can contribute to an increased risk of cancer.

Smoking has also been linked to cancer metastasizing or spreading—possibly because of the harmful effects that the accompanying chemicals have on DNA. Your best bet is to avoid smoking altogether.

How Can You Help Prevent Skin Cancer?

As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Below are a few tips on how you can lower your risk of developing skin cancer.

Stay Out of the Sun

One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to the sun’s  UVA and UVB rays. Staying out of the sun is not always possible, so wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily. Wearing UPF clothing and hats will also help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Studies have shown that UV radiation from tanning beds damages the skin’s DNA cells, which can lead to premature aging of the skin and increase the risk of developing skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) advises people to avoid using tanning beds.

Maintain Good Health

Living a healthy lifestyle is essential to maintain good health. Don’t smoke, avoid unnecessary harsh chemicals, and limit alcohol, sugar, and fast food. Staying active can boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, and eating a diet rich in nutrients helps your body fight chronic illness. These actions cannot prevent cancer, but together, they can decrease your risk of developing cancer and other chronic diseases.

Self-Checks and Doctor Exams

Routine checkups and self-awareness also play a significant role in prevention and detection. Look for warning signs of skin cancer, such as changes in size, shape, or color of a mole, the appearance of a new growth, or a sore that will not heal.

When performing a self-examination of your skin and any moles or lesions, follow the ABCDE rule:

  • Asymmetry: one half of the lesion or mole does not look like the other half
  • Border: the lesion or mole has an irregular border
  • Color: the color of the lesion or mole is not uniform or has changed (usually darker)
  • Diameter: the diameter of the lesion or mole is larger than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolving: the lesion or mole has changed in size, shape, or color

If you notice any of the above, be sure to visit a board-certified dermatologist to determine if cancer has developed. If cancer is found, it can often be treated with Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is a specialized procedure that removes layers of cancerous skin in stages to prevent the unnecessary removal of healthy tissue. In some cases, skin grafts are used to restore the appearance of the skin.

Once a diagnosis has been obtained by a practicing dermatologist, request a referral to Dr. Vincent C. Hung. Dr. Hung is triple-board-certified in dermatology, Mohs skin cancer surgery, and plastic surgery – assuring you the most aesthetically pleasing results following Mohs surgery.

Want to Learn More About Skin Cancer?

If you or someone you love needs more information about skin cancer treatment, please contact Dr. Hung at his Pasadena office at 626-432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292.


Top Cosmetic Reconstruction Techniques After Skin Cancer

| The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

When successfully treated, skin cancer often necessitates reconstruction to restore the appearance and function of the affected areas. Various techniques are employed based on the location and extent of the damage the cancer has caused. In this detailed guide, we’ll explore the cosmetic reconstruction methods commonly used after skin cancer treatment on the nose, lips, ears, eyelids, extremities, and scalp. We will also provide information on Mohs surgery to treat the cancer itself.

4 Min Read:

female touching her face with both hands

Treating Skin Cancer With Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is an advanced surgical approach to remove cancerous tissue from the skin. This method offers superior cancer removal results while preserving an optimal amount of healthy tissue, contributing to less scarring and more ideal outcomes after reconstruction or natural healing.

Nose and Lips Reconstruction

The following techniques are most effective for the reconstruction of the nose and lips:

  • Direct linear closure: For smaller defects on the nose or lips, direct linear closure is often preferred and involves stitching the edges of the wound together to minimize scarring and maintain natural contours.
  • Local flaps: Larger defects may require local flaps. This method involves repositioning nearby tissue with a similar blood supply to cover the affected area. This approach preserves the aesthetic harmony of the nose or lips.
  • Distant flaps: In cases where local tissue is insufficient, distant flaps can be used. This technique involves obtaining tissue from a different area of the body while maintaining blood supply to ensure effective coverage for more significant defects.
  • Skin grafts: A skin graft may be employed in some instances, especially when tissue loss is extensive. This procedure involves taking a piece of skin from a donor site elsewhere on the body and placing it over the treatment area. Skin grafts can be successful for nasal and lip reconstruction.

Ear Reconstruction

Reconstructing the ear after skin cancer entails the two-step process described below:

  • Cartilage and skin grafts: Ear reconstruction typically involves using cartilage grafts to rebuild the structural framework and skin grafts to provide coverage. This combination restores both the shape and outer appearance of the ear.

Eyelid Reconstruction

Two options can be used to reconstruct eyelids:

  • Margin skin grafts: After skin cancer excision from the eyelid, margin skin grafts involve taking a graft from the remaining eyelid margins to cover the defect. This technique is precise and aims to maintain the natural eyelid contour.
  • Hughes flap: In cases where the defect is more complex, a Hughes flap may be utilized. This involves transferring tissue from the upper eyelid to reconstruct the lower eyelid. The Hughes flap ensures a functional and aesthetically pleasing outcome.

Extremities Reconstruction

For the reconstruction of extremities, natural healing or skin grafts may be employed:

  • Split-thickness skin grafts from the thigh: Extremity wounds can be addressed with split-thickness skin grafts harvested from the thigh. This method involves taking a thin layer of skin and placing it over the wound site, where it can adhere to promote healing.
  • Natural healing or granulation: Natural healing or granulation may be encouraged in some cases, particularly for smaller wounds on the extremities. This means letting the wound heal on its own and is suitable for wounds with sufficient surrounding tissue.

Scalp Reconstruction

Following skin cancer on the scalp, wounds can also sometimes heal naturally or may require reconstruction:

  • Natural healing: Natural healing is often a viable option for superficial wounds on the scalp. The scalp’s rich blood supply contributes to effective healing, and minimal intervention may be required.
  • Flaps and skin grafts: In cases where wounds are deeper or more extensive, flaps or skin grafts may be employed for scalp reconstruction. This ensures adequate coverage and promotes optimal healing.

Cosmetic reconstruction after skin cancer involves a range of sophisticated techniques tailored to each patient’s specific needs. Direct linear closure, local flaps, distant flaps, and skin grafts are essential tools for reconstructing facial features, while cartilage and skin grafts prove effective for ear reconstruction.

Eyelid defects benefit from margin skin grafts and Hughes flaps, while extremities may be treated with split-thickness skin grafts or natural healing. Depending on the extent of the damage, scalp wounds can be addressed through natural healing, flaps, or skin grafts.

The key to successful reconstruction lies in the collaboration between skilled surgeons and patients, ensuring both functional and cosmetic restoration.

Expert Reconstruction After Skin Cancer in Pasadena, CA

Dr. Vincent Hung is a highly respected, triple-board-certified plastic surgeon providing Mohs surgery and reconstruction in Pasadena, California. Check out the extensive credentials that make him the best choice for either procedure here, then call our Pasadena office at (626) 432-5032.

If Newport Beach is more convenient for you, Dr. Hung also has an office there, which can be reached by calling (949) 574-8292.


What Should You Know About Nose Reconstruction After Mohs Surgery?

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

5 Minute Read:

Mohs surgery is one of the most effective and least invasive methods for treating many forms of skin cancer. Yet, Mohs surgery is still surgery, and it will leave scarring. For some, this will be small; for others, it can be significant. It all comes down to the size of the skin cancer, the type of cancer, and how much tissue needs to be taken.

Beautiful, young woman smiling as she touches her nose with her finger

And while skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, it often develops on the face and neck. This is because these areas are the most exposed to the sun.

One of the most common areas to develop skin cancer is the nose. And since the nose is central to your face, reconstruction following Mohs surgery must be handled delicately to ensure the best cosmetic result possible.

Below, we’ll explore Mohs surgery, especially on the nose, and how nose reconstruction can help you achieve a cancer-free, beautiful nose.

What Is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is a revolutionary approach to removing skin cancer. With Mohs surgery, the goal is to remove all cancer from the skin while preserving as much healthy skin tissue as possible.

For Mohs surgery, Dr. Hung will remove the cancerous tissue and a very thin rim of skin surrounding the tumor (the margin). This thin rim will be analyzed. If cancer is present, then another thin rim will be surgically removed and analyzed. This process will continue until all cancer cells are removed from the area, meaning the skin is cancer free.

In addition to being extremely successful with permanently removing cancerous tissue, Mohs surgery allows patients to keep the most healthy skin possible, limiting the size of resulting scars.

How Is Nose Reconstruction Performed?

While a scar is preferable to cancer on the skin, which can become aggressive and cause serious health concerns, many people still worry about what their scars will look like.

The good news is that nose reconstruction can be performed on women and men after Mohs surgery. Ultimately, nose reconstruction surgery aims to limit visible scarring and create a natural aesthetic.

To achieve optimal results, Dr. Hung has four different techniques to choose from, including:

  • Direct linear closure, which takes two edges of the wound and creates a single closure to limit the extent of visible scarring
  • Local flaps, which use surrounding skin to stretch and cover the open wound that was created during Mohs surgery
  • Full-thickness skin graft, which uses a large skin graft taken from another part of the body to cover the wound on the nose
  • Distant flaps, which use harvested skin from another part of the body (including the center of the forehead) to cover the wound; this graft is smaller in size than a full-thickness skin graft

The specific nose surgery technique depends on the extent of correction needed and the particular patient. During your consultation, Dr. Hung will evaluate your condition to create a surgical plan specific to you and your needs.

Why Choose Dr. Hung for Your Nose Reconstruction After Mohs Surgery?

Dr. Hung is one of only a few surgeons in the world who is triple-board certified in internal medicine, dermatology, and plastic surgery.

Because of his extensive education, knowledge, and experience, you can feel confident that Dr. Hung will dedicate himself and his talents to helping you achieve the appearance you desire. Additionally, because he performs Mohs surgery and nose reconstruction himself, Dr. Hung can approach both aspects of this procedure with a singular vision for your results.

Do You Have Questions?

If you want to learn more about skin cancer removal, Mohs surgery, and/or nose reconstruction, please contact Dr. Hung at his Pasadena office at 626-432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292.

What Is Mohs Surgery, and Does It Leave Scars?

| The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

3 Minute Read: 

There’s no question about it: the word “cancer” is terrifying. And while any form of cancer is serious and requires immediate attention, the good news is that there are many ways to treat and stop skin cancer before it progresses to truly dangerous stages. 

Dermatologist wearing blue latex gloves examines a mole on a woman's neck with a magnifying glass

One of the most successful treatments for skin cancer is Mohs surgery; however, many women and men do not fully understand what Mohs surgery is or how it can help treat skin cancer. 

Below, we’ll explore Mohs surgery by taking a look at how it’s performed and what you can expect (both before and after the procedure).

How Is Mohs Surgery Performed?

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that over 3.3 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Luckily, most cases of skin cancer are treatable and do not cause serious health risks, as long as they are detected and addressed early. This is one reason why regular self-checks of your skin are so important. 

Mohs surgery is one of the most effective and trusted treatments for removing skin cancer. With Mohs surgery, the thin layers of skin around the cancerous tissue is surgically removed. 

Once this skin is cut away, it is examined to see if there are any signs of cancerous cells. If so, additional thin layers of skin are removed and examined. This process is continued until there are no signs of cancer in the removed tissue, which signals cancer-free skin. 

What Are the Benefits of Mohs Surgery?

In addition to successfully removing cancerous cells from the body (thereby stopping the spread of cancer), Mohs surgery is effective with preserving as much healthy skin tissue as possible. 

Because the removal of skin around the cancer is so small, Dr. Hung can remove only the needed amount of skin. This process allows you to keep as much of your natural, healthy skin as possible, which is a major improvement to older skin cancer treatments

Other benefits of Mohs surgery include the fact that this procedure is performed under anesthesia (meaning that you will not feel any pain during the procedure), and most patients only need one Mohs surgery procedure to be free of their skin cancer. 

What Should You Expect After Your Mohs Surgery?

After your Mohs surgery, you will likely have some bruising, swelling, and discomfort in the surgical area. These side effects should dissipate within a week or two, and over-the-counter medication can be taken to alleviate any pain you may experience. You will be required to wear a bandage over the surgical area for the first several days; this bandage protects the sutures and promotes healing. While it is important that you refrain from strenuous activity until you are cleared by Dr. Hung, many patients are able to return to work and many of their normal, daily activities the day following their procedure. 

One of the biggest concerns that women and men have about Mohs surgery is scarring after their procedure. Because Mohs surgery requires the removal of skin from the body, scarring is inevitable. However, the extent (size and visibility) of the scar is dependent on various factors, including the location of the skin cancer, the amount of cancerous tissue removed, and the depth of the cancerous tissue. 

The good news is, Mohs surgery removes the cancerous tissue only, meaning that the resulting scar will be as small as possible. 

Skin reconstruction techniques can be performed to repair the area. When the cancer removal was small, the wound can often simply be closed; however, when larger, a skin graft may be necessary. 

Want to Learn More About Mohs Surgery? 

If you have questions about Mohs surgery in Southern California, including whether you are a candidate for this procedure, please feel free to contact Dr. Hung at 626-432-5032 (Pasadena) or 949-574-8292 (Newport Beach).

​​Skin Cancer FAQs: What Should You Know Going Into Your Treatment

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

3 Minute Read: 

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that about a fifth of all Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. 

Below is a rundown of the frequently asked questions about skin cancer.

​​Woman's mole being checked under a magnifying glass.

What Is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer can be understood as an abnormal growth of cells on the skin. This issue usually occurs as a result of overexposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

What Are the Common Types of Skin Cancer?

There are three main types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and melanoma

BCC is the most common of the three. It affects the basal cells of the skin, which are essentially the cells responsible for making new cells to replace the dying ones. BCC usually develops in areas that are most exposed to the sun, including the face, neck, head, and hands.

SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer. It usually affects the outer surface of the skin in areas such as the head, face, and neck. It also occurs in areas such as the genitals and the mucus membranes.

Melanoma is not as common as BCC and SCC, but it happens to be the most dangerous — even life-threatening. It usually affects the cells responsible for making the skin pigments and can spread rapidly through the lymph nodes.

What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Each form of skin cancer is associated with some unique warning signs. 

BCC is associated with signs such as:

  • A small shiny bump
  • A scaly, red flat patch
  • A black or brown bump
  • A lesion that bleeds
  • A non-healing sore

Squamous cell carcinoma is associated with signs such as:

  • A scaly red patch that looks like a rash
  • A persistent small ulcer on the lips
  • A crusted open sore
  • A raised scaly lump on the scalp, hands, legs, ears, or forearm

Melanoma usually presents itself as a mole that changes shape, size, and color. The mole might also bleed, itch, or cause pain.

How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed?

When you notice an unusual spot on the surface of your skin, you need to see a dermatologist. 

The dermatologist will examine the spot to determine if you have skin cancer. To this end, your dermatologist will remove the spot or a part of it and study it using a microscope to see if there are any cancer cells. 

If cancer cells are present, your dermatologist will write a biopsy report and highlight the kind of skin cancer you have.

How Is Skin Cancer Treated?

Skin cancer can be treated in several ways depending on the type of cancer in question and its stage of development. 

Some common treatment options include:

  • Mohs surgery
  • Excisional surgery
  • Cryotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Photodynamic therapy

Once you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, your dermatologist or surgeon will explain your options and advise you on the best steps to take.

Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented?

Since skin cancer is often caused by overexposure of the skin to the sun’s UV radiation, the best way to prevent it is to take measures that reduce your exposure to the sun. 

Some examples of such measures include:

  • Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Seeking shade whenever possible
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Wearing hats with wide brims
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants

It is also important to keep an eye on all moles and other skin lesions to make sure they look healthy.

Need to Learn More About Skin Cancer Concerns or Treatment?

Get in with Dr. Vincent C. Hung’s practice today to learn more about skin cancer and how it is treated.

Give us a call at (626) 432-5032 or fill out our online contact form.

Will I Have Hair After Skin Cancer Removal on My Head?

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

Whenever a patient undergoes skin cancer removal surgery, many worries can go through their minds. One of the first is about the success of the operation and whether all of the cancer will be removed.

But after the cancer is taken care of, patients’ worries usually move onto the lasting results and impacts on the body, including future hair growth if the skin cancer was removed on the head.

 Close-up shot of a bald man with his hand on his head

Many worry that they will be forever bald after Mohs surgery, unable to grow hair. Unfortunately, whether you will have permanent hair loss issues after skin cancer removal on your head is not an easy Yes or No answer.

The extent of hair loss depends on the size of the surgery, its location, and the method used for closure. Removing skin affected by cancer, especially when larger areas are excised, may lead to permanent hair loss. However, in many cases, hair loss is only temporary.

The specific degree of hair loss and whether it is temporary or permanent would best be addressed by your surgeon. They can provide the best insight into what you can expect regarding hair regrowth and what techniques and aftercare measures you can take to minimize hair loss related to Mohs surgery.

What Is the Most Common Skin Cancer Removal Method?

Medical science has come a long way in successfully treating skin cancer. Mohs surgery is now the most common procedure for removing skin cancer while causing as little aesthetic harm as possible.

What Is Mohs Surgery on the Scalp?

Mohs surgery is designed to preserve tissue and minimize scarring by removing the cancerous area one layer at a time. Each tissue layer is examined to check for any remaining cancer cells, and the process is repeated until none remain.

When performed on the scalp, tissue preservation is critical. This procedure follows the standard Mohs surgery technique but focuses on scalp lesions and preventing excessive scars from developing.

What Are the Methods for Repairing the Scalp After Skin Cancer Removal?

During Mohs surgery, your surgeon will remove as much of the cancerous tissue and skin as needed to make sure that you are cancer-free. While it is best to let the skin of the scalp heal itself naturally, this is not always possible.

Sometimes, skin reconstruction is necessary, especially if the surgical site is large or deep. In this case, there are two methods for repairing the scalp. The extent of the cancerous area (size of the cancer) plays a part in which repair method is best for you.

Skin Flap

A skin flap is used if the follicles are removed, but the skin cancer is contained to a smaller area on the head. A skin flap uses the tissue surrounding the Mohs surgery site to cover the surgical area and heal.

This technique often allows for a smoother healing surface with similar coloration and texture and less chance of scar contracture (shrinking). This method preserves as many hair follicles as possible, though the pattern of the hair will change.

Skin Graft

While a skin flap offers many positives, especially in allowing hair to regrow, if the cancer excision site is large, a skin graft may be required.

While a skin flap maintains blood flow (since the skin is not removed from the body and reattached), a skin graft does not have continuous blood supply because it is skin that has been taken from another part of your body, moved, and attached to the Mohs surgery site.

A skin graft allows for more significant coverage and helps protect the surgical area; however, due to the nature of skin grafts, they usually do not allow hair to regrow in the reconstructed area without further treatment.

What Causes Hair Loss After Skin Cancer Removal?

Whether or not you will lose the ability to regrow hair after Mohs surgery depends on its effect on the hair follicles.

If only a few layers of cancerous tissue and skin were removed during surgery, the hair follicles can survive, and your hair should regrow without surgical intervention.

However, if the follicles were removed or directly affected during Mohs surgery (because the cancer was deeper and more layers of tissue and skin were removed), then the hair would not be able to grow back naturally, leading to baldness in that area.

It’s important to note that the nature of Mohs surgery is to preserve as much of the skin (including the hair follicles) as possible, but some cancers grow more deeply than others.

Is Losing My Hair After Mohs Surgery Like Alopecia?

Hair loss after Mohs surgery typically occurs due to the surgical removal of skin cancer and the subsequent closure of the wound. Alopecia, on the other hand, refers to various factors that cause hair loss, such as genetics, autoimmune issues, hormonal changes, or other health conditions.

Mohs surgery-related hair loss, in most cases, is localized to the area where the surgery was performed and is not related to the conditions associated with alopecia.

How Long Is Recovery After Mohs Surgery on the Scalp?

After Mohs surgery on the scalp, recovery timelines vary widely depending on the extent of the procedure and individual healing abilities. However, you can expect the following sequence of events:

1. Immediately Following Surgery

Right after Mohs surgery on the scalp, the wound might be covered with a bandage or dressing. Mild pain, tenderness, and swelling around the surgical area are expected during the initial days.

2. During the First Week

It’s normal to experience some discomfort, swelling, and possibly bruising for the first week after surgery. Stitches and other wound closure methods will dictate the care required. Patients are typically advised to keep the area clean, dry, and protected per the doctor’s instructions.

3. The Next Few Weeks

The scalp wound will gradually heal, and if non-dissolvable stitches or sutures were used, they will need to be removed.

4. Longer-Term Healing

Complete healing after Mohs surgery on the scalp can take several weeks to a few months, with the wound improving and scars fading over time.

5. Follow-Up Visits

You will be scheduled for follow-up appointments with your surgeon so they can monitor the healing progress and address any concerns about the surgical site.

Throughout the recovery period, following your doctor’s post-surgical instructions is crucial. This includes proper wound care, avoiding strenuous activities, protecting the area from direct sunlight, and directions to ensure optimal healing.

Want to Learn More?

Feel free to call 626-432-5032 to Dr. Hung in Pasadena, CA, if you have questions about skin cancer removal or how Mohs surgery will affect your hair growth. If his Newport Beach, California office is more convenient for you, he can be reached at 949-574-8292.

How Effective Is Mohs Surgery?

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

2 Minute Read: 

Any cancer diagnosis can be disorienting and frightening. Over 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. However, there is good news. Most cases of skin cancer are treatable, especially if they are caught early.

Stethoscope next to a clip board reading 'Mohs Surgery' on desk

When Is Mohs Surgery Recommended?

Mohs surgery is recommended for certain types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. Other factors that make Mohs surgery the best option include aggressive or large cancers and cancers affecting areas with very little underlying tissue, such as the eyelids, noses, ear, scalp, genitals, hands, or feet. 

Previously treated cancers that reoccur may be eligible for Mohs surgery too.

What Happens During Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is a specialized technique for treating skin cancer, named for the surgeon who first developed it. The technique has evolved and improved over the years and is now considered one of the most advanced skin cancer treatments available.

The Mohs Surgery Procedure

A surgeon removes visually cancerous cells first, then carefully removes very thin layers of skin, one at a time. Each layer is examined to detect any sign of cancer. 

The person undergoing surgery is usually awake and alert, and the surgical site is numbed by anesthesia. 

Most procedures take place in a doctor’s office or clinic. The wound is bandaged after each layer of skin is removed while the surgeon examines the skin under a microscope. The procedure continues until no signs of skin cancer are present.

Surgical Goals

Surgeons undergo fellowship training in Mohs surgery to read slides of skin layers and coordinate microscopic results to the surgical site. The overarching goal of Mohs surgery is to minimize the risk of cancerous cells growing back while preserving as much healthy skin and tissue as possible.

How Is the Site Treated After Surgery?

The preservation of healthy tissue helps surgical sites heal quickly. Some sites don’t even need stitches. Other sites may need stitches, but the wound heals quickly. 

Sometimes the risk of scarring is greater if the surgical site is in a delicate area, such as under the eyes or around the nose and mouth.

Skin Grafts and Wound Care

Skin grafts may minimize scar tissue formation. People with large wounds may be placed under the supervision of surgeons that specialize in wound treatment. Specialized wound care may also be recommended for people with diabetes or other conditions that could complicate healing.

Interested in Learning More About Mohs Surgery?

You can contact Dr. Hung’s office in Pasadena at 626-432-5032 or the Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292 to learn more about Mohs Surgery and possible reconstruction options post-surgery. You can also fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.

Is Sun Exposure the Only Cause of Skin Cancer?

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

3 Minute Read: 

Most people assume that skin cancer is only caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. It’s true, the sun’s UV rays are the leading cause of skin cancer; however, many other lifestyle factors can influence skin cancer development. 

Let’s look at lesser-known causes of skin cancer, so you can work to prevent it.

Women getting a mole on her back checked by a doctor, potentially for skin cancer

What Are the Common Causes of Skin Cancer?


The leading cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by sunlight. 

However, the sun is not the only way to be exposed to UV radiation. Another is tanning beds. 

Like the sun, tanning beds emit both UVA and UVB rays. Both of these penetrate the skin, and both can increase your risk of skin cancer (not to mention premature aging, rashes, and even allergic reactions). 

To make things worse, since indoor tanning does not require good weather, people can use these devices year-round, increasing their exposure to harmful UV rays.


Unfortunately, some skin cancer factors cannot be avoided. Your genetics play a huge factor, and there is nothing you can do to change that. This means that you will need to be vigilant and aware of warning signs. 

Although, skin cancer can affect anyone:
  • Studies have shown that men are more prone to melanoma than women, and Caucasian men have a higher risk than other ethnicities. 
  • Certain genetic disorders that affect the pigmentation of the skin make people more prone to skin cancer. 
  • People with fair skin and freckles are more likely to suffer burns from the sun, increasing their risk of damage. 
  • Additionally, people prone to moles have a higher chance of developing skin cancer than those with fewer moles.

Additional Factors

Some people develop skin cancer if they have been exposed to high levels of X-rays or have been in contact with chemicals, such as arsenic, which miners and farmers commonly use. 

Skin cancer can also be caused by hydrocarbons which are present in tar, soot, and oils.

How Can I Reduce the Chances of Developing Skin Cancer?

The best way to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer is awareness and proper sun protection. 

Ensure that you always put sunscreen on and don’t sit or lay in the sun for long periods — especially during peak hours. It’s also best to avoid visiting tanning salons, which can damage your skin and may cause skin cancer in the long run.

People with moles should consider making a mole map. That way, they can keep an eye on their moles and watch for any unusual changes in shape, size, or color.

For more information about how to identify a melanoma, read our blog here

Contact Dr. Hung Today!

If you have any moles that you are worried about or have recently noticed changes to your skin, it’s best to visit a doctor for a check-up. 

Skin cancer affects as many as one in five Americans; however, it is usually very treatable when found early.

If you live in Southern California, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Vincent Hung. The team can be reached at (626) 432-5032 for more information about skin cancer tests and treatment, including Mohs Surgery.

Your Guide to Skin Grafting in Pasadena

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

3 Minute Read: 

Most skin cancer patients find Mohs surgery to be the optimal way to remove cancerous growths. While Mohs surgery is known for sparing as much non-cancerous tissue as possible, it can still result in significant surface injury that requires a skin graft. 

Example of a basal cell carcinoma on the face of a women near her eyebrow.

This graft is vital to the healing process and provides aesthetic benefits by covering the damaged area. 

Skin graft surgery is a reconstructive procedure that replaces the removed skin with donor tissue (harvested from your body). This skin graft guide will cover some of the things patients should know about skin grafting before undergoing Mohs surgery.

Table of Contents

What Are the Different Types of Skin Graft?

How Is Skin Grafting Performed?

What Are the Skin Graft Healing Stages?

Want to Learn More About Skin Grafts?

What Are the Different Types of Skin Graft?

There are two general types of skin grafts: split-thickness and full-thickness. Each type provides different results and benefits.

Split-Thickness Grafts 

Split-thickness grafts involve taking large swaths of the upper layer of skin from a donor site. Because these grafts only comprise the upper layers of skin, they may not look as natural as full-thickness grafts

These wider grafts are ideal for treating broader and more shallow injuries like burns or surface damage. However, these types of grafts are not as commonly used after Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery usually results in smaller but deeper incisions. 

You can learn more about the types of Mohs surgery incisions here

Full-Thickness Grafts

Full-thickness grafts use smaller pieces of skin to treat deeper wounds and surgical incisions. 

These grafts work because full-thickness grafts comprise both the upper and lower layers of the skin. This makes them far more effective at grafting into a wound and providing natural-looking results. 

This type of graft is ideal for smaller and deeper incisions or wounds. Full-thickness grafts are less effective the larger the target area is. 

Full-thickness grafts are commonly used after Mohs surgery to cover the incisions. Donor tissue can be taken from the abdomen, groin area, or arm. The smaller grafts, coupled with the thicker skin, make it more likely for the grafts to appear natural. This is important for patients whose incisions are in prominent locations, like the face.

How Is Skin Grafting Performed?

Skin grafting is usually performed using local anesthesia. The donor site and receiving site are identified, and each area is numbed.

Once the area is prepped, the desired amount of skin is excised from the donor area. The graft is then placed over the receiving site and sutured or stapled in place. Dr. Hung does his best to line up blood vessels between the graft and existing skin. This ensures the graft receives enough oxygen and nutrients during the recovery process. 

What Are the Skin Graft Healing Stages?

It can take up to 36 hours to know if a skin graft has taken or not. During the initial skin graft recovery period, Dr. Hung may place you under observation or ask you to come back for periodic checkups.

After 36 hours, if the graft has taken, you can return home. Dr. Hung usually prescribes medications to help manage the pain. The donor site should heal within a couple of weeks, leaving a small skin graft scar. The graft site may take up to four weeks to fully heal. 

You should avoid any activities that could stretch or strain the graft site for four to six weeks following the operation. 

Want to Learn More About Skin Grafts? 

If you want to learn more about skin grafting, how to treat skin grafts after surgery, or other related concerns, please contact our Pasadena office at 626-432-5032. You can also reach us at our Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hung.

How Does the Sun Damage Your Skin?

, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

3 Minute Read: 

Many people wish for tanned, glowing skin; however, tanning, if not done correctly, can result in severe skin damage. 

This means that having tan, beautiful skin when you are younger may result in wrinkles and sunspots at an older age. 

In addition to displeasing aesthetic effects, excessive sun exposure can cause skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to avoid harmful tanning, such as tanning beds and sitting in the sun, and switch to spray tans or tanning lotion to maintain your skin’s glowing, youthful appearance. 

Woman in blue bathing suit spending time on the sunny beach.

How Can I Avoid Sun Damage? 

While the sun can damage your skin, it can also be healthy for you. The sun can provide vitamin D, improve sleep, improve mood, and even relieve stress. If you are going to spend time in the sun, you must take the proper precautions. 

1. Wear Sunscreen 

This may seem like an obvious tip, but it is surprising how many people do not wear sunscreen when they are in the sun. Even if you are not going to the beach or sitting by the pool, putting sunscreen on at the beginning of every day can protect you from the harmful UV rays you are exposed to throughout the day. 

Consider keeping sunscreen in your car or your purse for quick access and reapply as needed. 

2. Limit Sun Exposure 

We are constantly exposed to the sun during the day, even if it may seem cloudy outside. However, you should significantly limit your exposure to the sun during its peak hours. This usually occurs in the middle of the day. If you choose to go outside when the sun is brightest, consider wearing sunscreen or protective clothing to protect your skin. 

3. Wear Sunglasses 

The sun not only affects our skin but our eyes as well. Constant exposure to the sun can cause damage to the cornea, which can eventually cause blurriness and loss of vision. 

4. Wear Long-Sleeved Shirts and Pants 

In many situations, we cannot avoid being out in the sun. In cases where you spend a significant amount of time in the sun, sunscreen may not be enough to protect you. Wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs can help protect against sun damage. Additionally, wearing a hat can block the sun from reaching your face. 

5. Ask Medical Professionals About the Medications You Take 

Believe it or not, certain medications can increase sunlight sensitivity. This means that you are more likely to burn and experience the harmful effects of sun exposure. If you notice the sun is affecting you more than normal, your medication could be to blame. 

Please talk to your doctor to see if your medication is increasing your sunlight sensitivity. 

How Is Skin Cancer Treated? 

Thankfully, when caught early, skin cancer is treatable. 

Dr. Hung offers Mohs micrographic surgery to remove skin cancer and leave as much healthy skin as possible. 

If you have been recently diagnosed with skin cancer, please call Dr. Hung at his Pasadena office at 626-432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292 to schedule a consultation for Mohs surgery.