AANS: Alopecic and Aseptic Nodules of the Scalp

Alopecic and Aseptic Nodules of the Scalp (AANS) Rare Hair Loss Condition Described in 15 Patients:

A very rare hair loss condition known as “pseudocyst of the scalp” has been known to hair loss specialists for some 20 years. In 2009, French researchers Drs. Abdennader and Reygagne proposed the condition be renamed “Alopecic and Aseptic Nodules of the Scalp (AANS)” to better describe this condition. Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss and aseptic is the medical term meaning free of microorganisms such as bacteria.

This year the same French research group published a larger study of patients with AANS. 

Abdennader et al. Alopecic and aspeptic nodules of the scalp (pseudocyst of the scalp): a prospective clinicopathological study of 15 cases. Dermatology 2011; 222: 31-35.

15 patients presented to their university hair clinic in Paris with one or more small coin-sized tender, areas of hair loss mainly at the top and back of the scalp. Most of the patients were men (14 of 15) and most were Caucasian (11 of 15 Caucasian and 4 of 15 Black).  13 of the 15 patients had symptoms of itching, pain or discomfort. The coin shaped areas of hair loss were slightly red, tender and swollen.  There was little to no hair overlying the bald areas.  In 4 patients, the swollen areas were found to contain fluid but consistently found to be free of bacteria. The hair loss was not permanent and most patients re-grew hair within a few months of treatment with the oral medication Doxycycyline.

More research is needed to understand the cause of this rare condition and how best to treat it. Other treatments such as injection with corticosteroids as well as various surgical treatment methods have been shown to be helpful for patients with AANS. Finally, it should be mentioned that despite the many bizarre terms that exist for the hundreds of hair loss conditions that exist, the seemingly lengthy term “aloepecic and aseptic nodules of the scalp” is a particularly good one. It nicely describes this condition. 



Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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