When is a scalp biopsy necessary to diagnose hair loss?

Doctor's Answers 2

We do not need to do a skin biopsy to diagnose hair loss in most cases. Common causes of hair loss such as male and female pattern hair loss, telogen effluvium and aloepcia areata are usually diagnosed clinically without a need for biopsy.

In cases of scarring alopecia, where there is destruction of the hair follicles and in cases where the diagnosis is uncertain, a skin biopsy will usually be needed.

A scalp biopsy is generally not necessary for diagnosis of hair loss. Doctor's diagnosis of hair loss is generally clinical, which means that the doctor can usually tell the degree of hair loss and its cause through a thorough history and physical examination.

A blood test may sometimes be needed to confirm the cause of hair loss but this is rarely needed. Cheers!

Regards, Dr. Terence Tan

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