How We Diagnose the Causes of Hair Loss

As many as 65% of men and 80% of women can expect to experience a noticeable degree of hair loss by the age of 60, but despite its prevalence most suffering from this extremely common condition want only to find a way to reverse it.  According to a survey conducted by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, 60% of hair loss sufferers said they would rather have more hair than either money or friends, and 47% even said that they would gladly spend their entire life savings to regain a full head of hair.  Unfortunately, there is no simple “one-size-fits-all” treatment for hair loss.  A specific case could potentially be caused by a number of different conditions, ranging from simple androgenetic alopecia, or genetic pattern baldness, to complex autoimmune disorders.  Correctly deducing an effective treatment for any of the various forms of hair loss requires a detailed analysis of the underlying causes.  This is why we conduct a full medical examination consisting of a detailed patient history and extensive diagnostic tests before initiating any treatment plan at The Griffin Center.

How We Diagnose the Causes of Hair LossBecause so many underlying conditions can contribute to hair loss, a detailed analysis of the patient’s medical history can often be extremely revelatory.  This can be particularly true in cases of women’s hair loss, where the number of potential causes is greater.  Questions asked during this interview will typically concern the specific characteristics of your hair loss (whether it is merely thinning or noticeably falling out, for example) as well as how long the hair loss has been occurring.  Measurements and photographs may be taken in order to precisely quantify the degree of hair loss present and magnification may be used to check for miniaturization of the hair shafts.  A family history of hair loss or specific hair styling habits can also play a significant role, so questions about these are common.  Finally our specialists will always ask about recent illnesses, medications you may be taking, and even your diet, as these details may reveal specific, and very different, environmental factors or diseases that may be a factor in your hair loss.

A number of diagnostic medical tests can also help determine the causes of hair loss.  At the most basic level, this starts with a simple pull test, where several dozen hairs are pulled from the scalp to see how many come out. This helps determine the stage of the shedding process.  From there, the investigation may include a detailed blood test, including hormone and iron levels, to uncover any medical conditions related to hair loss, such as thyroid disease.  A scalp biopsy may also be performed and light microscopy can be used to examine the individual hairs to reveal possible disorders of the hair shaft.  These are just a few of the many different diagnostic tests that we can perform in order to determine the best way to address your specific hair loss.

Every patient is unique and every case of hair loss is different, so only a detailed examination can effectively determine what hair restoration treatment is right for you.  If you have any questions about your individual hair loss, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a comprehensive diagnostic consultation.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.