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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 74-76  

Interesting patchy alopecia

1 Department of Dermatology, Consultant Dermatologist, Jalgaon, India
2 Department of Dermatology, Consultant Dermatologist, Nasik, India

Date of Web Publication7-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Prashant Jadhav
Prashant Clinic, Prathamesh Building, Near Bahinabai Garden, Ring Road, Jalgaon - 425 001, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7753.160116

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Patchy alopecias of the scalp are frequently seen in clinical practice. We report a young man who presented with progressive patchy alopecia of the scalp, which was finally diagnosed to be due to tuberculoid leprosy. Progression of alopecia was stopped after anti-leprosy treatment was instituted. Despite high prevalence of leprosy in our country, scalp affection due to leprosy is extremely rare but important to recognize.

Keywords: Alopecia, hair, patchy, regrowth, scalp, tuberculoid leprosy

How to cite this article:
Jadhav P, Zawar V. Interesting patchy alopecia. Int J Trichol 2015;7:74-6

How to cite this URL:
Jadhav P, Zawar V. Interesting patchy alopecia. Int J Trichol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Feb 7];7:74-6. Available from: https://www.ijtrichology.com/text.asp?2015/7/2/74/160116

   Introduction Top

Patchy alopecia is a common patient presentation in clinical practice. Primary cicatricial alopecia includes common entities such as lichen planopilaris, discoid lupus erythematosus, acne keloidalis, and uncommon causes of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, Brocq alopecia, folliculitis decalvans, dissecting cellulitis of the scalp. While common secondary cicatricial alopecia include immunobullous disorders, radiation, epidermal nevi, alopecia neoplastica, and sarcoidosis. [1] Careful clinical examination and appropriate evaluation help to establish the accurate diagnosis and treatment. We report an interesting presentation of patchy alopecia due to tuberculoid leprosy.

   Case report Top

A 22-year-old male patient presented with asymptomatic progressive patchy hair loss on the scalp since 6 months. It started on the occipital area and gradually involved temporoparietal area on both sides. Shaving of the scalp revealed multiple irregular patches of circumscribed hair loss with different configurations such as linear on the occipital area and circinate, arcuate, and irregular patterns on temporoparietal areas. Interestingly, erythematous to hypopigmented, nontender plaques with tumescent edges were seen at the sites of hair loss. The affected areas were an admixture of cicatricial and noncicatricial alopecia. There were no exclamation mark hairs. Frontal areas were not involved [Figure 1] and [Figure 2]. He also had on his beard a large, irregular patch of alopecia along with erythematous to hypopigmented conglomerated plaques associated with hypoesthesia to a pinprick. Peripheral nerves were normal. His rest of cutaneous and mucosal examination was normal. Investigations including complete blood counts, blood sugar levels, venereal disease research laboratory test, HIV antibodies, and KOH preparation were all normal. Slit skin smears and special stain were negative for acid-fast bacilli. Skin biopsy revealed minimally atrophic epidermis and multiple focal collections of epithelioid cells and dense infiltration of lymphocytes forming granulomas in the dermis. There was lymphocytic infiltration around the blood vessel and adnexa and also around the nerve fibers [Figure 3]. With a diagnosis of borderline tuberculoid leprosy on histopathological examination. A course of antileprosy treatment consisting of dapsone 100 mg daily and rifampicin 600 mg, once a month was started with a diagnosis of tuberculoid leprosy. After 4 months, the plaques were flattened, erythema was much reduced and surprisingly, hair re-growth was observed at some of the alopecic patches [Figure 4]. Unfortunately, he was lost to further follow-up.
Figure 1: Linear patchy alopecia with a tumescent plaque affecting occipital area of the scalp with hypoesthesia

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Figure 2: Circinate, arcuate, and linear erythematous plaques corresponding to alopecia, affecting right temporal area

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Figure 3: Scalp biopsy, multiple focal tuberculoid granulomas in the upper dermis. In the center, a distorted follicular structure is seen in its upper half with infiltration of granuloma cells around the hair follicle. The granuloma cells consist of epithelioid cells, lymphocytes, and a few Langhan's giant cells. An inset shows close view of granuloma that is seen in upper right part of picture

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Figure 4: Follow-up at 4 months following anti-leprosy treatment. Plaque resolved with hair re-growth at some places

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   Discussion Top

Scalp involvement in leprosy is quite infrequently reported. This may be due to relatively high local temperature. Scalp is included as one of the relatively immune zones of leprosy. [2]

Leprosy affecting bald scalp has been described earlier. It is said that leprosy affecting hairy scalp is exceedingly rare. [3] Mitsuda demonstrated alopecia in Japanese patients suffering from lepromatous leprosy patient. [4] The most common area affected in the scalp is temporal region. Interestingly, an area overlying the temporal artery was said to be spared. [3],[4]

Oteig and Pinegro [5] classified leprotic alopecia as:

  • Diffuse alopecia
  • Regional alopecia localized to temple
  • Circumscribed alopecia
  • Mitsuda's type
  • Wig-type.
Till date, a very few reports in the Indian literature are published from the Indian workers describing alopecia in leprosy. To our best knowledge, Parikh et al. described first reports of scalp involvement in leprosy. [6],[7] Ghorpade et al. described two cases with a tuberculoid lesion on the hairy occipital area of the scalp. [8],[9] Malaviya et al.[10] reported plaques and nodules over the scalp in lepromatous leprosy. Abraham et al. reported diffuse alopecia in lepromatous leprosy. [11] In our patient, a hairy area of scalp and beard were the only areas involved. He did not have nerve involvement. This is an extremely rare presentation of leprosy. Appropriate evaluation and early anti-leprosy treatment in our patient lead not only to rapid resolution of plaques but also initiated regrowth of hair at some of the places. Thus, early diagnosis and treatment of leprotic alopecia may be vital in preventing progression to cicatricial alopecia.

A possibility of leprosy must be kept in mind when unexplained progressive alopecia occurs in hairy scalp accompanied by underlying tumescent erythematous plaques.

   Acknowledgments Top

The authors thankfully acknowledge Dr. Pradeep Mahajan, MD; DNB, Consultant Dermatopathologist, Pune, India for his expert opinion on histopathological features of this case.

   References Top

House NS, Welsh JP, English JC 3 rd . Sarcoidosis-induced alopecia. Dermatol Online J 2012;18:4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Rajashekar TS, Singh G, Naik LC. Immune zones in leprosy. Indian J Dermatol 2009;54:206-10.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Faget GH. Alopecia leprosa in the United States. Int J Lepr 1946;14:42-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mistuda K. Atlas of Leprosy. Okayama, Japan: Chotokai Foundation; 1952. p. 65.  Back to cited text no. 4
Otiez SA, Pinegro RR. Alopecia in leprosy. Bol Soc Cerbana Dermatol J Sifilogr 1960;17:26.  Back to cited text no. 5
Parikh AC, D'Souza NA, Chulawale R, Ganapathi R. Leprosy lesion on the scalp. Lepr India 1974;46:39-42.  Back to cited text no. 6
Parikh DA, Oberai C, Ganapati R. Involvement of scalp in leprosy - a case report. Indian J Lepr 1985;57:883-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ghorpade A, Ramanan C, Manglani PR. Tuberculoid leprosy on hairy scalp: A case report. Lepr Rev 1988;59:235-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
Ghorpade A, Remanan C, Manlani PR. Tuberculoid leprosy involving hairy scalp. A case report. Indian J Dermatol Venereal Leprol 1994;60:41-2.  Back to cited text no. 9
Malaviya GN, Girdhar BK, Husain S, Ramu G, Lavania RK, Desikan KV. Scalp lesion in a lepromatous patient - Case report. Indian J Lepr 1987;59:103-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
Abraham S, Ebenezer GJ, Jesudasan K. Diffuse alopecia of the scalp in borderline-lepromatous leprosy in an Indian patient. Lepr Rev 1997;68:336-40.  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

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