SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

A recent report suggests that elastic fibers appear in scars in a time-dependent fashion. This observation prompted our investigation, because we have found elastic tissue stains helpful in determining the pattern of scarring in cases of permanent alopecia. We carried out this investigation to determine if the Verhoeff-Van Gieson (VVG) elastic stain can reliably differentiate scarred from non-scarred dermis and to test our hypothesis that elastic stained sections are helpful in distinguishing lichen planopilaris (LPP) from lupus erythematosus (LE), central progressive alopecia in black females (“follicular degeneration syndrome” and “hot comb alopecia” are other terms used to describe this condition) and classic ivory white idiopathic pseudopelade. We studied histological sections from surgical scars of known duration, stained with the VVG elastic stain and VVG-stained sections of scalp biopsies from patients with established lesions of permanent alopecia. In most cases, both vertical and transverse sections were examined. In every case, the VVG stain clearly differentiated scar from the normal surrounding dermis. Distinct patterns of elastic tissue allowed for correct classification in most of the well-established cases of permanent alopecia studied. We determined that the Verhoeff-Van Gieson stain is an excellent stain to evaluate the pattern of scarring in cases of permanent alopecia and elastic tissue stains may be helpful in the histological evaluation of alopecia.