Conflicts of interest None declared.
How not to get scar(r)ed: pointers to the correct diagnosis in patients with suspected primary cicatricial alopecia
Article first published online: 12 JAN 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2009 British Association of Dermatologists
British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 160, Issue 3, pages 482–501, March 2009
How to Cite
Harries, M.J., Trueb, R.M., Tosti, A., Messenger, A.G., Chaudhry, I., Whiting, D.A., Sinclair, R., Griffiths, C.E.M. and Paus, R. (2009), How not to get scar(r)ed: pointers to the correct diagnosis in patients with suspected primary cicatricial alopecia. British Journal of Dermatology, 160: 482–501. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.09008.x
- Issue published online: 17 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 12 JAN 2009
- Accepted for publication 21 October 2008
Primary cicatricial alopecias (PCAs) are a rare, but important, group of disorders that cause irreversible damage to hair follicles resulting in scarring and permanent hair loss. They may also signify an underlying systemic disease. Thus, it is of paramount importance that clinicians who manage patients with hair loss are able to diagnose these disorders accurately. Unfortunately, PCAs are notoriously difficult conditions to diagnose and treat. The aim of this review is to present a rational and pragmatic guide to help clinicians in the professional assessment, investigation and diagnosis of patients with PCA. Illustrating typical clinical and histopathological presentations of key PCA entities we show how dermatoscopy can be profitably used for clinical diagnosis. Further, we advocate the search for loss of follicular ostia as a clinical hallmark of PCA, and suggest pragmatic strategies that allow rapid formulation of a working diagnosis.