THE SCALP BIOPSY PROCEDURE 

A scalp biopsy is a 20 minute procedure that allows Dr. Donovan to obtain a few hairs (and the surrounding skin). This specimen will be sent off to the pathologist for further evaluation.  The procedure is very safe and should not be a cause for worry for you. Some minor tenderness can occur for a few days in the area where the biopsy was taken. Dissolving stitches will be placed in the area - it takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the stitches to dissolve fully. A small scar will be present permanently in the area where the biopsy was taken.

 

PART 1: General instructions:

1. If you normally use topical steroids in your scalp (clobetasol, betamethasone, fluocinonide, Clobex, Luxiq, etc), please refrain from using these one week prior to your biopsy. If you are not sure, please ask us. 

1. Please arrive on time for your biopsy. You may drive to your appointment and you may drive home.  Expect to be at our centre for about 35-40 minutes in total.

2. If you normally use topical camouflaging fibers (Toppik, etc) or other camouflaging agents (DermMatch, Couvre, etc), please do NOT apply these product before coming to your biopsy. These MUST be washed out of your scalp prior to arrival at the centre.   Please do not apply hairspray, gel or mousse prior to your procedure. These can be used the following morning. 

We understand these camouflaging products may be important to you but they interfere with Dr Donovan's proper evaluation of your scalp and interfere with the biopsy procedure. Dr Donovan wants to obtain the most accurate and precise evaluation of your scalp - thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We regret to inform you that your biopsy may be cancelled and rescheduled if these products are in your scalp. Please choose to do your biopsy on a day of the week and time when this will be possible and convenient for you.

3. You will be instructed to wash your scalp well the following day and the day after (in the region where the biopsy was taken). You can wash and shampoo your entire scalp if you wish but it is critically important to wash the stitches where the biopsy was taken) 

4. You may dye and colour your hair one week after the biopsy. 

5. Product can be used on the scalp the very next day. 

6. A follow up appointment via phone will be arranged 4 weeks after your appointment. The precise follow up time depends on the type of biopsy you are having and specifics to the type of hair loss condition. Dr. Donovan will advise you at the time of your appointment. 

7 Although the stitches (sutures) are usually dissolvable ones - if they bother you in any way, they can be safely clipped out of the scalp after 14 days. 

 

PART 2: Educational Blogs and Links

You may wish to review these helpful educational blogs as well

1. The Scalp Biopsy

2. Setting up for a Scalp Biopsy

3. How is a scalp biopsy actually performed?

4. Removing the Sample from the Scalp

5. What does the sample look like?

6. How good are scalp biopsies? Are they 100 % accurate?

7. Do Scalp Biopsies leave a scar or not?

8. Are there areas on the scalp where a biopsy should not be done?

9. Are random biopsies helpful? 

 

PART 3: Common questions about scalp biopsies

1. Is it painful?

The scalp biopsy procedure is not a very painful one. There is some minor burning when the freezing medication is put into the scalp but that sensation lasts only 10 seconds. This is very similar to have a tooth frozen at the dentist. Afterwards most people have only a minor degree of discomfort. Dr. Donovan encourage patents to take a plain Tylenol 1 hour before and 4-5 hours after the procedure as this can help to reduce discomfort. 

 

2. Will others notice I have had it done?

There will be a small amount of redness just in the area where the biopsy was taken. If there is some hair in the area or nearby, generally the area can be covered. If the area is completely devoid of nearby hairs, the biopsy site may be slightly visible. Generally, Dr Donovan aims to take the biopsy from a site where the patent will be able to camouflage the area so that it is not noticeable to others.

 

3. How do I care for the biopsy area after the procedure?

Caring for the area is very easy. It is not complicated and one should not make it complicated.  Simply wash the area the following day with soap for 10 seconds and rinse with water. Shampoo is also fine. Repeat the next day after that as well. That's it.  A scalp biopsy suture site can be properly cared for even in the most remote areas of the world. It is that easy and one should not place any limitations on their travel, lifestyle or work when having a biopsy.

 

4. How long do my stitches stay in the scalp?

Generally, dissolvable stitches are placed into the scalp. These dissolve in 6-8 weeks for most people. If they both a patient in any way, they can be clipped out in 14 days.

 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let us know!




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