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Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: Do we Need a New Name for the Condition?

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Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: Do we Need a New Name

Frontal fibrosing alopecia is an uncommon hair loss condition that usually affects post menopausal women. The cause is not known. 

 

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia: What does it mean?

At first glance, the name seems like a good one. Women with frontal fibrosing alopecia lose hair in the front of the scalp and it occurs with scarring (fibrosing process). The women in the photo on the right has typical frontal fibrosing alopecia. 

FRONTAL: Hair from the front of the scalp is lost

FIBROSING: Occurs with scarring (fibrosing process)

ALOPECIA: Simply a medical term for hair loss

Once the hair is lost, it's lost permanently. Only with hair transplant surgery can hair density in the front be improved. But surgery can only be done when the condition is quiet or else the newly transplantedn hairs are likely to die.  An ongoing research study in our office is seeking to understand when it's best to transplant women with frontal fibrosing alopecia.

But is this a good name for the condition?

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As time passes, we're learning more and more about frontal fibrosing alopecia. Many women not only lose hair in the front of the scalp (hairline), but also at the sides (above the ears) and at the back as well. The women in the photo shows a typical picture of hair loss occuring at the back. In addition, women with frontal fibrosing alopecia often lose eyebrows (in three quarters of patients) and often lose body hair as well ( in one quarter of patients).

Conclusion

The term frontal fibrosing alopecia has been with us for almost 20 years now. When hair specialists use the term, we know exactly what condition is being referred to. But the term has its limitations - and someday it might take on even a different name - one that encompasses the hair loss from the back and sides of the scalp,  body hair and eyebrows.



Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299



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