You can’t treat a problem unless you know what the problem is. When it comes to hair loss, understanding the reasons behind thinning or shedding hair is a critical part of the process. By determining the cause of hair loss, we can develop and implement the most effective treatment program tailored to each patient’s unique characteristics. Our hair loss evaluations involve comprehensive examination and testing to get to the root of the issue. In some cases, a scalp biopsy may be recommended as part of this phase in the hair restoration journey.
What is a Scalp Biopsy?
A scalp biopsy involves extracting one or two small specimens of scalp tissue and follicles for analysis. The specimens are about the size of a pencil eraser. A discrete area of the scalp is cleaned, the hair in the area is trimmed, and a local anesthesia is administered in the area. Once the specimens are removed, the small scar is closed with stitches which will be removed a couple of weeks after the biopsy is performed. The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes. The specimens are then submitted to a skin pathologist with special expertise in diagnosing hair loss problems.
Why are Scalp Biopsies Performed?
When hair loss appears to be caused by a follicle scarring process, a scalp biopsy is necessary to establish a diagnosis. A biopsy can be used to make or confirm a diagnosis of alopecia and can also yield important information in cases of unexplained hair loss or when the potential for regrowth is in question.
How to Prepare for a Scalp Biopsy
If your hair loss physician recommends a scalp biopsy as part of your hair loss evaluation, you’ll have to take care of some things beforehand to minimize risks and discomfort and to maximize the accuracy and usefulness of the biopsy.
In addition to following your doctor’s specific directions, you will likely have to do the following in advance of your biopsy:
- Give your physician a complete medical history and answer all of his or her questions. Make sure you discuss any illnesses, allergies, and medications, as well as your lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking that could play a role in elements of the biopsy like scarring and administration of anesthesia.
- You’ll be given a blood test to check for any other issues which could be instructive as to the reasons behind your hair loss.
- Do not put any styling or other products in your hair the day of your biopsy.
- Immediately prior to the procedure, hair will be trimmed from the area specimens will be taken from, and the area will then be cleaned.
Since this short procedure is performed with only a local anesthetic, you will be able to leave the clinic soon after it is completed and should be able to drive as well.
Call the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami for Your Personal Hair Loss Consultation
Not all patients require a scalp biopsy to determine the cause of hair loss and to choose the best treatment options. But the first step in discovering why you are losing your hair and what you can do about it is to schedule a hair loss consultation. We invite you to schedule an evaluation at the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami. Drs. Nusbaum and Rose are internationally acclaimed hair restoration surgeons with more than 40 years combined experience. To receive a personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.