Ultrasound Is Not Useful in Monitoring Lipedematous Alopecia: A Clinical, Trichoscopic, Histologic, and Ultrasound Analysis of 2 Cases

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Lipedematous scalp (LS) is a rare condition characterized by thickened adipose tissue in the subcutaneous layer of the scalp resulting in a soft, spongy, or thick consistency of the scalp. When associated with hair loss, this condition is called lipedematous alopecia (LA). Various imaging modalities have been used to diagnose LS and LA along with histopathology. Case Presentation: We present 2 cases of LS: a 56-year-old female with a 1-year history of hair thinning, pain, and tenderness at the vertex scalp and a 60-year-old female with a 5-year history of lichen planopilaris presenting with a 1-year history of itching and soreness on the crown of her head. Ultrasound (US) was used for diagnosis, treatment response surveillance, routine clinical examination, and symptom assessment. Follow-up US revealed no improvement in scalp thickness in either case despite symptom improvement and visual improvement in hair growth. Discussion/Conclusion: US has been reported as a helpful tool in the diagnosis of LS; however, treatment response was better approximated by hair growth and symptom alleviation. We found that once the diagnosis with made with US, clinical monitoring is adequate as symptom improvement and hair growth may not correlate with a change in scalp thickness.
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    Pubmed Id

  • 27465847
  • Author List

  • Weir SA; Awe O; Robbin ML; Mayo TT