Evaluation and diagnosis of hair loss
- Jerry Shapiro, MD
Jerry Shapiro, MD
- Professor - The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology
- New York University
- Nina Otberg, MD
Nina Otberg, MD
- Head of the Hair Clinic
- Skin and Laser Center, Potsdam, Berlin
- Maria Hordinsky, MD
Maria Hordinsky, MD
- Section Editor — Hair and Scalp Disease
- Chair and Professor - Department of Dermatology
- University of Minnesota Medical School
"Hair loss" is a common clinical complaint that is a manifestation of a wide variety of disorders. Although the cause of hair loss is easily diagnosed in some cases, such as in patients who present with classic male pattern hair loss or patchy hair loss due to alopecia areata, the diagnosis of hair loss also can be challenging.
An overview of the basic principles of hair biology, potential causes of hair loss, and the assessment of patients who present with a complaint of hair loss is provided here. Specific types of hair disorders are reviewed in greater detail separately.
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- HAIR BIOLOGY
- Hair types
- Hair cycle
- Cicatricial alopecia
- Nonscarring alopecia
- Inherited and acquired structural hair disorders
- PATIENT INTERVIEW
- Description of hair loss
- Medical and family history
- PHYSICAL EXAMINATION
- Scalp and hair examination
- - Visual inspection
- - Trichoscopy
- - Hair pull test
- Examination of other sites
- DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES
- Microscopic examination
- Scalp biopsies
- - Cicatricial alopecia
- - Nonscarring alopecia
- Trichograms and phototrichograms
- Laboratory studies
- INDICATIONS FOR REFERRAL
- PATIENT SUPPORT
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS