Scalp Biopsies: Expert Interpretation Needed

Expert Interpretation Needed

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Scalp biopsies have multiple steps but all end with a pathologist sitting at his or her microscope looking at a slide like the one shown here.

A biopsy is important but not more important than the patient’s story (ie the “medical history”) and not more important than the actual clinical scalp examination. The biopsy is merely another tool to get information about the possible cause of the patient’s hair loss.

To perform a scalp biopsy properly, one must ensure a 4 mm punch size is used an taken from the right area of the scalp. The sample must be processed properly by the pathology laboratory and ideally should be assessed by a dermatopathologist who has a good amount of experience in scalp biopsies.

It is surprisingly for some to learn that biopsies are not the gold standard in diagnosing hair loss they are simply a tool. Incorrect interpretations are possible (false positives and false negatives)

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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