No problem cannot be treated before knowing the exact cause. Here we are talking about the hair loss problem which is more common nowadays. Although there are no certain causes or reasons behind the hair loss, yet performing some diagnostic methods, we can understand the reasons behind hair shedding or thin. Out of various hair loss diagnostics methods, Scalp Biopsy is one of the most popular and proven technique. It will also help the hair specialist to offer hair restoration journey to the patient’s trough choosing right treatment method. Here we will study about the Scalp Biopsy in detail.
What is a Scalp Biopsy?
As the name suggests itself, it is the procedure of analyzing the scalp only. In this process, One or two sample of scalp tissue and follicles are taken from the head to evaluate and analysis. The specimens are having the size of pencil eraser. To perform this process, the discrete area of the scalp is rubbed, cleaned and trimmed. A local anesthesia is given and a small piece of scalp is cut. After that, the opened area is closed with the help of stitches which will be removed after a couple of days of scalp biopsy. The cut scalp tissue is then sent to skin pathologist to diagnose the infection, inflammation or other hair loss problems. The whole process may take up to 15 Minutes. The whole process needs to be reformed under expert Hair examiner only.
Why are Scalp Biopsies Performed?
There are various reasons to perform the scalp biopsy, although the most common reason is to check for the hair loss problem. The scalp biopsy is also performed to diagnose lesions, unusual cosmetic marks, alopecia or various hair loss problems. This will help the hair specialist to know the root cause of the hair loss and will also offer the information about the regrowth chances of hairs.
How to Prepare for a Scalp Biopsy?
If you have been asked to perform the Scalp Biopsy, the motive would know the root cause of hair loss or skin disorders. Before undergoing Scalp Biopsy, Examiner may ask you to take some precautions or may ask some of the questions just to minimize the risks and discomfort. A fruitful and Careful Scalp Biopsy will reveal the accurate information only. So prior to Scalp Biopsy, One should prepare himself or herself in advance:-
- Do not go for Biopsy with your own, First, consult with your own doctor or dermatologist.
- Your physical examiner may ask few questions about the medical history related to allergies, illness, medications etc. The doctor will also ask you about the hairstyle habits related to smoking and drinking. Knowing those factors will minimize the risk of scarring while administering anesthesia. Better not to hide anything from your physical examiner
- A prior blood test may be done to check the reasons behind the hair loss. In some cases, Scalp Biopsy may be done after 2-4 weeks of Blood Draw.
- Do not use any hair styling products or chemical prior to scalp biopsy.
- A small area will be trimmed, shaved and cleaned before taking small specimens. Cleaning the area will offer a better look to take the better specimen. After trimming or shaving, the area will be cleaned with the help of alcohol, iodine or similar solution. This is done to avoid the risk of infection.
- After This Local anesthesia will be given to ease pain and discomfort. Anesthesia will work to numb the areas. It will not affect your move. Even after taking the local anesthesia, you may return to work or home.
- Once the scalp specimen is taken, small sutures may be done to heal the wound. In case of Punch Biopsy, a single stitch is done. Some prefer to leave the wound open to make the healing faster or some may pack it with cloth dressing.
- The whole procedure will take 15 minutes so the patient may leave the clinic soon after diagnosing Scalp Biopsy.
- Scalp Biopsy is not required for all type of hair loss problems. Only the severity of hair loss will be the main factor of performing Scalp Biopsy.
- Scalp Biopsy can be performed on male and female
- Once the procedures are done, one may return to work or home or daily routine task
- During Scalp Biopsy, some bleeding may occur which is normal so no need to be panic.
- Once the result will be out, the doctor will himself make a call
- Entire process and healing may take a time of 1-2 weeks although punch biopsy may leave a small scar and no hair will be grown due to the absence of hair follicles.
What are the Risks Associated With a Skin Biopsy?
Like other medical procedure, it has too some risks associated with the scalp biopsy which are mentioned below:-
– Preoperative Risks
This include the risk coming through using the local anaesthesia. Anaphylaxis is one of the rare risk which can be prevented by sharing medical history. To observe the same, Patch test can be taken before using local anaesthesia. A vasovagal attack can also occur which can be prevented by sharing any history of history of syncopal attacks. Both are harmless.
– Intraoperative Risks
Scalp Biopsy is itself a risky procedure, the risk of which can be handled by your physician itself. The risks are pain, Discomfort, bleeding, weakness, numbness etc, although physician may also find it difficulty while closing the wound. The risk are minimal and superficial so permanent damage is rare.
– Postoperative Risks
After having the Scalp Biopsy, one may feel tenderness, weakness, bleeding and pain, although these can be controlled with the medications prescribed by the doctor. One of the most common side-effects is the infection which can also be treated with the antibiotic which is scarring and Biopsy hyperpigmentation.
Whatever Problems you face after getting the Scalp Biopsy done, you may directly consult with your doctor or examiner.
What is the Step By Step procedure of Scalp Biopsy:-
The diagnosis is made under the inspection of an experienced examiner or dermatologist to avoid any type of risks and infections. The step by step process is detailed for the easy and simple understanding of the users & audience:-
- Finding a Right Scalp Area: Do to hurry, take time to find the right area of the scalp which need to be cut and which represents the hair loss condition. Just check for the signs and symptoms of the hair loss and accordingly choose the skin from where scalp skin and hair follicles need to be removed for testing
- Mark The Area: before cutting it off, just make a round circle with blue accusing marking pen as this pen does not wash off easily. Marking the area will not confuse the examiner.
- Trimming or Shaving: Once the area is marked, the next step will be to cut the hairs through razor or trimmer. To perform this safely, the other portion of hairs can be clipped in a proper way.
- Cleaning: After shaving the hairs, Skin needs to be cleaned with using alcohol or cleansing solutions such as chlorhexidine. This will help to prevent infection.
- Local Anaesthesia: Cutting the scalp skin directly may be painful so better to numb the area by using local anesthesia. The solutions will be used with care so that cutting does not bleed too much
- Punching:- The recommended size is 4mm to be cut-off so Punch biopsy tool can be used to puncture the area. Only an experienced examiner will know to use the punch biopsy tool. Once the cut is done, the tool will be removed.
- Pulling Up the Specimen Skin: Do not do this process in hurry, use an anesthetic needle to pull out the skin delicately.
- Cut & Remove the Specimen: Once the skin is pulled out, just cut it from the base in a horizontal manner using a scissor. After it, removed it from the scalp and places directly into 10% buffered formalin for transport to the histology lab.
- Suturing: To close the open wound, single stitching can be done with nylon. Some physicians may leave it open to heal it faster or some may advise you to pack the same to avoid infection
- Anti-Biotics: if the site is left uncovered, petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment can be applied over the incision to keep the area moist. The area can be washed on after 24 hours and petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment can be applied regularly for at least 5 days to heal the wind in a better way.
- Removing The Stitches: If the wound is covered with the stitches, it can be removed after 10-14 days.
If we read the above process, it seems easy although it may little uncomfortable to the patients. Once the Scalp Biopsy is done, the analysis and evaluation process starts in the lab as per the details are given below:-
- After the Biopsy has Been done, the specimen is stored in a chemical solution or frozen using liquid nitrogen. While analyzing the causes of hair loss, the chemical solution is used.
- once the specimen got settles, it is then sliced into 4-6 micrometers in width and places in own sides for a complete examination
- Each slice is examined under the microscope with using alcohols, oils, and dyes. Examiner will mark the conditions and will take a note of the irregularities.
- Once the tissues sample is examined, they can be restored for further examination or destroyed.
The specimen will help to know the exact cause of hair loss, abnormalities, infections or the health of the hair follicles. No doubt, Scalp Biopsy helps to cure the cause of hair loss by pinpointing the exact cause thereof. Knowing the exact cause will help to get the right treatment through hair experts of a dermatologist.