Published online May 2, 2015. doi: 10.5314/wjd.v4.i2.63
Peer-review started: November 22, 2014
First decision: December 26, 2014
Revised: February 25, 2015
Accepted: March 16, 2015
Article in press: March 18, 2015
Published online: May 2, 2015
Noninvasive in vivo imaging techniques have become an important diagnostic aid for dermatology. Dermoscopy, also known as dermatoscopy, has been shown to increase the clinician’s diagnostic accuracy when evaluating cutaneous neoplasms. Dermoscope, both hand-held and videodermoscope, are nowadays a basic instrument for almost all the dermatologists around the world. Trichoscopy is the term coined for dermoscopic imaging of the scalp and hair. Routinely using dermoscopy and recognizing the structures and patterns of the different types of alopecia will likely improve the observer’s sensitivity for diagnosis and follow up of hair and scalp disorders. Structures which may be visualized by trichoscopy include hair shafts of different types, the number of hairs in one pilosebaceous unit, hair follicle openings (dots), the peri and interfollicular areas and the vasculature. This review summarizes the current knowledge about trichoscopic findings which may aid in the diagnosis of alopecia. Besides diagnosing alopecia, it has the potential for obviating unnecessary biopsies and when a biopsy is still needed it is helpful in choosing an ideal biopsy site. Moreover, trichoscopy can be a valuable tool for evaluating the treatment response photographically at each follow-up. Finally, we have discussed the utility of dermoscopy in inflammatory scalp disorders and infections.
Core tip: Trichoscopy refers to the dermoscopy of the hair and scalp disorders. This is a noninvasive, in office technique that can be performed with a hand-held dermatoscope or a digital videodermatoscopy system. Trichoscopy is useful for the diagnosis and follow-up of hair and scalp disorders. In this article, we have briefly described the most important trichoscopic patterns and structures.