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  • Prevent Skin Cancer with Photodynamic Therapy

    Skin cancer prevention and detection are critical. With excessive sun exposure, sun protection is a must. In cases where skin cancer cells are detected in the early phases or where pre-cancerous lesions are present, photodynamic therapy is a skin cancer preventative treatment.

    It uses special chemical compounds that are activated by certain types of light, which shrinks the targeted cancerous cells or lesion. The compounds can be applied topically, injected into the skin or administered through an IV. In essence, these drugs and light are photosensitizing agents that disarm blood vessels that facilitate the growth of cancerous cells while reviving your immune system to fight the skin cancer.

    Before cancerous cells turn into skin cancer, they may exist in the form of pre-cancerous lesions such as actinic keratosis, basal cell, or squamous cell carcinoma on the skin or scalp.

  • Tumescent Liposuction, Ultrasound Assisted, and Smartlipo

    Liposuction is a convenient plastic surgery procedure that eliminates unwanted body fat. Of course, it is not a substitute for regular healthy exercise. An individual that is healthy may opt to undergo liposuction with Orange County board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon Dr. Tony Nakhla at OC Skin Institute.

    Liposuction can be performed on various areas of the body. Certainly, the most popular areas are the belly, thighs, and hips. Some people also prefer to reduce the size of their breasts or buttocks with liposuction which is possible. The procedure can be performed with general or local anesthesia.

    Types of Liposuction

    There are various techniques for liposuction that can be performed and utilized which include:

    Tumescent Liposuction

    This technique is the most common. During the tumescent liposuction procedure, saline salt water is injected into the body along with lidocaine and epinephrine, which facilitates the suction and removal of fat from the body. With lidocaine and epinephrine, both pain and blood loss is reduced.

    Ultrasound-assisted liposuction

    During ultrasound liposuction, sound waves rupture the cells of fat.

    Smartlipo or Laser-assisted liposuction

    Smartlipo is basically laser liposuction. Smartlipo uses a laser to liquefy the fat. During the procedure, a small thin tube in inserted into the fatty targeted areas of the body through an incision. The laser delivers head to the fat cells to melt them. This makes the removal process easy with suction.

  • Sclerotherapy is the Treatment of Choice for Spider Veins

    Sclerotherapy is a medical treatment for the cosmetic appearance of spider and varicose veins. Often times, genetics, exposure to sun, injuries, hormonal changes and blood that is not able to flow freely or is backed up, can lead to spider veins in the legs.

    Sclerotherapy is a salt solution that is injected with a needle into the vein.  Many women post-partum after delivery, labor and pregnancy can find themselves facing new spider veins in their legs although they never had them before. The pressure of the weight of one’s body in addition to gravity can also lead to the existence of these unwanted veins. Leg veins are a primary method of blood flow to the heart and when the blood is backed up- these blood vessels appear larger and are more noticeable. Abnormal leg veins can affect both men and women alike and are very common.

    Sometimes, sclerotherapy can be used when laser therapy is not recommended. Intense Pulsed Light Laser therapy is another cosmetic treatment for spider and varicose veins.

    Contact OC Skin Institute today to learn more about these treatment options for unwanted spider and varicose veins. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tony Nakhla is also a dermatologic surgeon.

  • Things to Know about Liposuction

    Liposuction is often a viable option for Orange County residents who want to lose body fat but have struggled with conventional weight-loss methods. Although it is not a substitute for diet and exercise, liposuction can eliminate certain fat deposits and change a person’s proportions that result from heredity.

    The Procedure: How is Liposuction Performed by a Board Certified Dermatologist & Dermatologic Surgeon?

    Liposuction can be performed safely in the office of a cosmetic board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Tony Nakhla at OC Skin Institute. Tumescent anesthesia, which consists of saline, lidocaine and epinephrine, is used to numb the surgical area prior to treatment. Small incisions are made into the skin so that a cannula can be inserted. A cannula is a tube that resembles a straw and is used to suck fat out from beneath the skin. Liposuction is an outpatient procedure that can be completed in a single office visit.

    Recovery after Cosmetic Surgery

    Compression garments are worn by patients to reduce swelling after surgery and during recovery. Patients are usually cleared to return home 30 minutes after their procedures. Most bruising and swelling should subside after one week. On average, patients can resume normal activities after five to seven days following surgery. Most people notice differences immediately after this cosmetic procedure, but the final results are usually visible six months after swelling has gone away.

    A cosmetic dermatology specialist can evaluate patients who are interested in liposuction and let them know if they are good candidates. Contact OC Skin Institute to learn more if you are interested in a more permanent weight loss procedure like liposuction.

  • Tests for Skin Cancer & Biopsies

    Basal and squamous cell carcinomas, along with other type of skin cancers that are less common, can often be diagnosed with biopsies. A biopsy involves taking a tissue sample that is sent to a lab to be examined for the presence of cancer cells.

    When a Biopsy is Recommended

    Skin cancer is diagnosed in one of three ways: a biopsy, dermoscopy and mole mapping. Dermatologists often recommend biopsies for patients who have suspicious moles or other skin growths that are cause for concern. Patients may have noticed bleeding, oozing and scab formations in these problematic areas. Skin spots that have irregular borders or have changed in size, shape or color could also be showing symptoms of skin cancer that should be further investigated through biopsy.

    Before the Biopsy

    Prior to a biopsy being performed, a dermatologist will take note of a patient’s medical history and conduct a physical examination to determine if further testing is needed. A physical examination can also be performed by a primary care physician who may refer a patient to a dermatologist if a biopsy is recommended. A special magnifying lens known as a dermatoscope is sometimes used to look for cancer cells in suspicious places on the skin during a physical examination. Surrounding lymph nodes can also be felt for any swelling. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tony Nakhla may not recommend a biopsy if the initial findings don’t warrant any concerns.

    The Biopsy Process

    Skin biopsies can be performed by a board-certified dermatologist on an out-patient basis. Local anesthetic is usually used to numb the area so that the patient doesn’t experience any pain during or immediately after the biopsy. Some bleeding and minor scarring should be expected after the tissue sample is removed.

    The type of biopsy performed will depend on the size and location of the suspicious skin spot. Some of the most common types of biopsies that are used to diagnose skin cancer include:

    • Incisional and Excisional Biopsies – In an incisional biopsy, only part of the area in question is cut from the skin to be examined. An excisional biopsy is usually needed to look at deeper skin layer levels and can often remove an entire tumor with a surgical knife.
    • Shave Biopsy – Also known as a tangential biopsy, this involves the use of a small surgical blade to shave off the top skin layers that will be examined under microscope. Ointment or cauterization may be used to stop the bleeding from the area where the tissue was removed.
    • Punch Biopsy – A handheld instrument that resembles a cookie cutter is used in this type of biopsy when deeper skin layers need to be removed. Rotational movements are made with the instrument to remove enough tissue. Stitches are sometimes applied to the biopsy site to close the wound.
    • Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy – In rare instances when squamous or basal cell carcinoma has thought to have spread from the skin to a nearby lymph node, fine needle aspiration can be a helpful diagnostic tool. Small fragments of lymph node are drawn out through a fine needle that causes minimal discomfort and no scarring.
    • Surgical Lymph Node Biopsy – This type of biopsy is sometimes recommended when a fine needle aspiration biopsy doesn’t find any cancer cells but the doctor still believes that cancer has spread to a lymph node. A surgical procedure that can often be performed on an out-patient basis in a dermatologist’s office can remove a lymph node directly beneath the skin for examination.

    Anyone who believes that a suspicious area of skin may be cancer can see a leading skin cancer surgeon in Orange County at the OC Skin Institute for an examination. Contact us today for a consultation if you are concerned about a potential skin cancer diagnosis or are actively pursuing treatment.

  • What to Know About Rashes That are Called Seborrheic Dermatitis

    Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common type of skin rash that is most often seen in infants and adults between the ages of 30 and 60. The rash, which is harmless, may appear reddish in color, have a yellow or white scaly crust, and give the skin a greasy, swollen appearance.

    Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis:

    Seborrheic dermatitis is not an allergic reaction and is not the result of poor hygiene. It is believed that the condition may be caused by a combination of factors including genetics, stress, climate, overall health, and the naturally occurring flora on the skin.

    When the Rash is Found in Babies:

    Seborrheic dermatitis typically appears as a cradle cap in babies in which thick, crusty, greasy patches develop on the scalp. The condition normally resolves spontaneously within a couple of months. The rash can also develop in the diaper area and is often confused with a common diaper rash.

    Seborrheic Dermatitis in Adults:

    Adults with seborrheic dermatitis often experience episodic flares for the rest of their life. Flares may be triggered by weather changes or stress. The severity and frequency of flares can be managed with the proper treatment.

    Risk Factors for Seborrheic Dermatitis:

    Seborrheic dermatitis can affect individuals of all ages and skin colors. Certain medical conditions such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, HIV, Parkinson’s disease, eating disorders, and epilepsy can increase a person’s chances of developing seborrheic dermatitis.

    Board-certified dermatologist in Orange County Dr. Tony Nakhla and his team can easily identify and determine if a skin rash is seborrheic dermatitis or recommend the appropriate treatment. Contact OC Skin Institute to schedule your consultation to find out the proper diagnosis and treatment for the medical skin condition you face.

  • Causes & Treatment of Actinic Keratosis

    An actinic keratosis is a patch of crusty, scaly skin caused by UV damage to the skin. Actinic keratoses are a precursor to various types of skin cancer. They are most often seen in adults over 40 and individuals who live in sunny climates, work outdoors, or who use sun lamps and tanning beds.

    Causes of Actinic Keratosis:

    A pre-cancerous skin lesion, such as acitinic keratosis, develops when the skin is repeatedly exposed to UV rays. Over time, the skin becomes unable to repair the damage caused by the rays, and the skin becomes thick, crusty, and scaly.

    Risk Factors for Actinic Keratosis:

    Individuals who have fair skin, hair, and eyes have less natural melanin to protect their skin from UV rays and are more likely to develop pre-cancerous skin lesions. Individuals who have a weakened immune system, medical conditions that increase sensitivity to UV rays, or who work with coal, tar, or other substances that contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are also prone to developing pre-cancerous skin lesions.

    Diagnosing Pre-Cancerous Lesions like Actinic Keratosis:

    An OC dermatologist and skin cancer specialist and surgeon like Dr. Tony Nakhla can diagnose such a lesion susceptible to skin cancer, by performing a visual examination of the skin. If a suspicious lesion is identified, a biopsy may be used to determine if the growth is cancerous.

    Treating the Lesion Before it Turns into Skin Cancer:

    Actinic keratoses are normally treated using outpatient procedures or home therapies.

    • Cryotherapy: The damaged skin may be frozen so that it will peel away and reveal new, healthy skin.
    • Chemical Peel: The chemical is applied to the affected area to destroy the damaged skin.
    • Curettage and Electrosurgery: A curette may be used to scrape away the damaged tissue. The doctor may follow this up by using a cautery to burn away additional damaged skin.
    • Laser Resurfacing: Similar to a chemical peel, the laser destroys the cancerous cells by removing the top layer of skin to promote the generation of healthy skin.
    • Photodynamic Therapy: Photodynamic therapy involves applying a solution to the skin to make it sensitive to light. As the skin is exposed to a specific wavelength of light, the acitinic keratosis cells are destroyed, and new skin develops within a couple of weeks.
  • How To Treat Lipomas

    Lipomas are benign fatty lumps that typically develop between the skin and muscle. Lipomas are normally harmless and do not require treatment unless they become bothersome.

    Lipoma Symptoms:

    Lipomas typically develop on the arms, thighs, shoulders, neck, abdomen, and back; however, they can develop anywhere on the body. Most lipomas measure less than two inches in diameter and are slow growing. Unlike tumors that tend to be rigid and fixed in place, lipomas move easily under the skin and feel soft and slightly doughy. Lipomas are normally painless, but they can become painful if they contain numerous blood vessels or grow to the point that they press on the surrounding nerves.

    What Causes Lipomas?

    It is unclear why certain people develop lipomas; however, certain risk factors are associated with a higher incidence of lipomas, including:

    • being between the ages of 40 and 60;
    • having a family history of lipomas; and
    • being diagnosed with certain conditions, such as Gardner’s syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or adiposis dolorosa.

    How Are Lipomas Treated?

    OC dermatologist Dr. Tony Nakhla may recommend treatment for lipomas that become painful or that start to grow. The most common treatment is surgical excision. Lipomas do not normally recur once they are removed. Minimal excision extraction techniques are available that result in less residual scarring and bruising. Steroid injections into the lump may help reduce the size of the lipoma. A form of liposuction using a syringe and needle can also be effective in removing the lump.

    When to See a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Surgeon:

    Orange County patients who notice unusual lumps or swelling anywhere on their body should consult an experienced dermatologist as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis.

    For more information about treating lipomas, contact OC Skin Institute today.

  • Approved Uses of Dermal Fillers

    Dermal facial fillers are a safe and effective way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and creases. The filler is injected under the skin in a cosmetic non-surgical procedure in order to restore lost volume and to smooth out the surface of the skin. It is important to note, however, that not all dermal fillers are appropriate for all patients and all situations.

    How are Dermal Fillers Safely Used?

    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved temporary dermal fillers for use in correcting nasolabial folds and wrinkles. Several absorbable fillers are also available for wrinkle and acne scar correction, facial contour correction, and facial augmentation in adult patients.
    • The FDA has approved a non-absorbable filler to minimize the appearance of acne scars and skin folds in adults.
    • Certain fillers have been approved for use in restoring facial volume in patients with HIV who are experiencing facial fat loss for example.
    • Currently, there is one filler approved by the FDA to add volume to the hands.

    The successful use and application of dermal fillers depends on the quality of the skin, the type of filler used as well as other factors. In addition, more than one application may be needed for desirable results.

    Dermal Fillers Should Not Be Used to Augment the Body, Breasts, Buttocks, or Feet

    Dermal fillers are not approved for use in large-scale body enhancement and contouring or breast or buttock augmentation. Fillers are not intended to increase the volume of the feet or for implantation into muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones. Inappropriate use of dermal fillers may cause serious complications, including chronic pain, infection, permanent scarring and disfigurement, embolism, stroke, or death.

    Patients considering dermal fillers should consult an experienced Orange County dermatologist like Dr. Tony Nakhla who is not only board-certified but is also a skin cancer surgeon. Although non-surgical in nature, dermal filler injections are still a procedure that require a certain level of skill and experience to be performed properly. Patients should never try to inject fillers themselves or purchase fillers online since they may not be safe or approved by the FDA for use in the United States.

    It should be noted that FDA approval means that the product has been reviewed in clinical studies for certain uses in specific parts of the body. The safety and effectiveness of dermal fillers for use over a prolonged period, by certain patient populations, or in other areas of the body may not have been studied.

    Contact OC Skin Institute today for more information about dermal fillers and our facial rejuvenation services and to schedule your consultation.

  • The Dangers of Precancerous Lesions & Surgical Treatment and Removal

    Precancerous lesions can be precursors to certain types of skin cancer and are commonly found on the mouth or other parts of the face. There are four prominent types of precancerous lesions which include:

    • Actinic Keratosis
    • Atypical Fibroxanthoma (AFX)
    • Atypical Moles
    • Melanoma in Situ

    These types of skin abnormalities are known to develop into skin cancer over time due to genetic mutations. Precancerous lesions don’t always turn into cancer, but it is still important to have them monitored by one of our Orange County dermatologists. Dr. Tony Nakhla is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon with over a decade of experience treating patients with skin cancer and precancerous lesions before they evolve into skin cancer.

    Causes of Skin Cancer Lesions on the Face, Neck and Body

    There are certain factors that are known to contribute to the development of precancerous lesions. Some of the main causes include:

    • Smoking
    • Sun exposure (lack of sun protection over the years can cumulatively make individuals more susceptible to precancerous lesions)
    • Heavy alcohol consumption

    Skin cancer prevention can be achieved by making some positive life changes and eliminating or minimizing the effects of these factors and elements as much as possible. These are known risks and the key to detection is also prevention of such risks.

    Importance of Seeing a Dermatologist to Treat Precancerous Lesions Early on

    Orange County dermatologist Dr. Nakhla is able to diagnose and monitor and treat precancerous lesions to see if they change over time. If these lesions end up becoming cancerous, treatments can be implemented to eliminate these cancers in their early stages before they grow into more serious medical concerns. Treatments include surgical removal as well as Mohs micrographic surgery. This is a popular procedure especially when the lesion or cancerous cells are present on delicate skin such as the face. Having cancerous lesions treated early can also result in less scarring and improve survival rates.

    Diagnosis and Treatment of Skin Lesions by a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Surgeon

    Precancerous lesions can often be diagnosed based on observations and behaviors of the lesions. To confirm a diagnosis, a skin cancer specialist may have any suspicious lesions biopsied so that the cells can be examined in a lab under a microscope. If cancer is discovered or is expected to soon develop, there are several minimally invasive treatment options that can eliminate the problem.

    If you think you might have any precancerous lesions, please schedule an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon in our Orange County offices.