Lichen planopilaris: clinical and pathologic study of forty-five patients

D A Mehregan, H M Van Hale, S A Muller
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 1992, 27 (6 Pt 1): 935-42

BACKGROUND: We review the findings in a large series of patients with lichen planopilaris.

OBJECTIVE: Clinical, histologic, and direct immunofluorescence findings were reviewed in 45 patients.

METHODS: Scalp biopsy specimens for routine histologic examination and direct immunofluorescence were reviewed. Clinical data and follow-up were obtained.

RESULTS: Women were affected more commonly and had patchy hair loss, with perifollicular erythema, perifollicular spines, and scarring. Half had or developed glabrous skin, mucous membrane, or nail changes typical of lichen planus. Follicular involvement was limited to the infundibulum and isthmus and included lichenoid inflammation and cytoid formation, with few or no changes in interfollicular epidermis. Direct immunofluorescence showed cytoid body staining with anti-IgM and anti-IgA and patchy or linear fibrinogen deposition along the basement membrane zone. The various therapeutic options used were usually unsuccessful.

CONCLUSION: To make the correct diagnosis, patients with scarring alopecia should be evaluated histologically and with direct immunofluorescence. They should also be followed up to assess whether lichen planus develops elsewhere.

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