What is a Basal Cell Carcinoma?

Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) are the most commonly occurring, but least risky form of skin cancer. They are uncontrolled proliferation of the basal cells, which make up the outermost layer of the skin. Basal cell carcinomas are considered the least risky form of skin cancer because they rarely spread to other parts of the body, unlike squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Basal cell carcinomas can develop due to overexposure to ultraviolet radiation when too much time is spent in tanning beds, or under sunshine without sunblock. Individuals with paler skin are at a higher risk for developing a basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinomas most commonly first appear as a pearly white, or waxy small bump, similar to a flesh colored mole or pimple, before maturing into shiny bumps, open sores, scaly red patches, pink growths, or scars. They are fragile and can bleed easily.

Treating Basal Cell Carcinomas

Basal cell carcinoma lesions are malignant lesions but they do not metastasize (do not escape or skip out of their location); instead, these lesions are notorious for growing locally and destroying all structures in their vicinity. As such, it is important to excise these lesions with just enough surrounding normal tissue in order to obtain clear margins. When basal cell carcinomas are located in areas of skin laxity such as in the arms, legs, and torso, a bi-elliptical excision usually suffices. Excisions must be performed down through the skin as well as the underlying fat to ensure that the cancer has been removed entirely. All such excisions are sent to our laboratory where they will be analyzed over 72 hours (permanent pathology analysis). In contrast, basal cell carcinomas that are larger (usually 2 cm or greater) or if they are located on the face, nose, ears, lips, neck, scalp, hands, and feet are analyzed by MOHS or Frozen Section analysis.

MOHS or frozen section analysis allows for the excised tissue to be evaluated immediately while the patient is at the office. Although this process is very arduous, the frozen section biopsy is the mainstay of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Institute, as it allows our skin cancer patients to be cleared of their cancer during their procedure. Thus, if you are scheduled for MOHS or frozen section surgery you should expect to have your cancer removed entirely (termed cleared) as well as be put back together (defect repaired) in an aesthetically pleasing manner all in one visit. Your plastic surgeon, Dr. Mowlavi, has performed over a thousand frozen sections and subsequent closures with flaps and will detail to you your expected results.


Basal carcinoma 1 Basal carcinoma 2 Basal carcinoma 3 Basal carcinoma 4 Basal Cell Carcinoma 2 Basal Cell Carcinoma 3 Basal Cell Carcinoma. Right upper lip cancerous Basal Cell Carcinoma 1 Basal Cell Carcinoma. Right upper lip cancerous Basal Cell Carcinoma 2 Basal Cell Carcinoma 1 Basal Cell Carcinoma

How our patients feel about us:

Dr. Mowlavi did an incredible job... People still can not believe when I tell them that I had skin cancer removed from the middle of my forehead. Dr. Mowlavi did an incredible job and I am thankful I was referred to him for my surgery.

Patti R. Laguna Niguel, CA

Very kind and gentle... Dr. Mowlavi is very kind and gentle. He took an extra few minutes to calm my fears and had me laughing by the end of the procedure. I will have him take care of any future procedures. I am even sending my husband to see him.


You will be in good hands... I was referred to Dr Mowlavi last year after being diagnosed with malignant melanoma, he immediately put me at ease and explained exactly what the course of action would be and how the surgery would proceed, I have since had three surgeries for this with him and it has made a scary time so much less stressful for me and my family! His manner is wonderful, reassuring, informative, and always available for any questions or worries, even after office hours, if you are considering any surgical procedure I would highly recommend him, you will be in good hands. His staff are also courteous and professional.

Louise W. Newport Beach

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