Androgenic alopecia(AA), commonly known as pattern baldness, initially manifests as a receding or thinning hairline in men and women respectively. While the condition may be apparent at a later stage of development, it is routinely cumbersome to diagnose in its early stages. The current gold standard for AA diagnosis is trichoscopy of the scalp and the more invasive punch biopsy when trichoscopy yields insufficient insight towards the cause of hair loss. Trichoscopy, a magnified image of the scalp, can provide a superficial understanding of the hair diameter as well as scalp discoloration around the follicular opening. Histopathological analysis of hair follicles provides information such as hair follicle density, and the diameter of the hair shaft and follicle used to determine the extent of alopecia. Since the information provided by trichoscopy is somewhat limited and punch biopsies are invasive, physicians cannot properly assess multiple areas of the scalp to provide proper diagnosis of androgenic alopecia. Optical Coherence Tomography(OCT), a non-invasive, non-ionizing tomographic imaging technique, can rapidly provide near histopathological cross sectional 3D images. This technique has been identified as a plausible candidate for in-vivo assessment of hair loss. Through this pilot study, we have prospectively enrolled eight patients undergoing varying degrees of hair loss to assess the efficacy of OCT to detect differences in hair shaft and follicle anatomy. Our preliminary results show the capability of OCT to non-invasively resolve hair follicle density, hair shaft and follicle diameters between patients at varying stages of hair loss.
Emon E. Heidari, Junxiao Yu, Nica Sabouni, Zhongping Chen, and Natasha Mesinkovska, "Optical coherence tomography as a minimally invasive androgenic alopecia diagnostic platform
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10467, Photonics in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery 2018, 1046703 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 27, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2289192.5751313901001.
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