Background Scalp biopsies are crucial for the diagnosis of cicatricial alopecia. However, the pathologic interpretation may not be diagnostic if biopsy is not obtained from the correct site. This is particularly relevant for cicatricial alopecia as the disease may be focal and disease activity difficult to appreciate by the naked eye.
Objective To report a new simple technique to select the optimal biopsy site in cicatricial alopecia.
Methods In the last 2 years we performed dermoscopy guided scalp biopsies using handled dermatoscopes in 80 patients with different forms of cicatricial alopecia. Biopsy site was selected based on presence of the following dermatoscopic features: perifollicular concentric white scales in lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE); hair tufts in folliculitis decalvans, hairs surrounded by a peripilar grey-white halo in central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia and follicular red dots or keratotic plugs in DLE.
Results The dermoscopy guided biopsies yielded a definitive pathological diagnosis in 95% of the cases.
Comment The advantage of this method is that it is a fast, precise way to identify even individually affected follicles in early or focal cicatricial alopecia. It also allows for the morphologic characterization of particular follicular structures.