- Friday.April 28. 2023
“If one chooses hair transplantation as a permanent solution to hair loss, it is important to rule out DUPA. Seeing a specialist who has a thorough familiarity with all hair loss patterns is essential for diagnosing androgenetic alopecia and for planning hair restoration treatments.” — Dr Jennifer Martinick MBBS FISHRS
DUPA (Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia) is a type of hair loss not often emphasized, but pose the greatest challenge both for diagnosis and patient management.
In DUPA, all the hair on the scalp becomes smaller and thinner at the same time. This process is called “miniaturisation,” where hair strands become shorter and thinner until they almost disappear.
DUPA affects men. Experts suspect DUPA to be genetic, and it can strike at any age, even in relatively young patients.
The possibility of misdiagnosing DUPA is one of the most important arguments against performing hair transplantation at an early age.
Dr Jennifer Martinick says, “The challenge with DUPA is that hair loss affects the entire scalp, failing to follow regular hair loss patterns. It can cover areas not only the top of the scalp but the typically unaffected zones like the back and sides of the head.”
“This makes popular hair restoration solutions, like hair transplantation, not suitable for patients with DUPA. Such treatment could prove to be a total waste of time as the transplanted follicles will not grow.”
Unlike Androgenetic Alopecia, Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia lacks a stable donor zone considered safe for surgical transplantation. It affects just 2-6% of men.
Diffused unpatterned alopecia initially emerges on the back and sides of the head, while regular male pattern hair loss starts at the crown and hairline.
DUPA can “mimic” regular male pattern baldness symptoms, often resulting in a misdiagnosis. However, experts understand certain key difference between normal hair loss and DUPA.
What’s interesting is that in DUPA, people don’t usually notice a lot of hair falling out. Instead, their hair starts getting thinner all over the scalp. Sometimes, it’s the friends or family who notice the thinning first and tell the person about it.
If you’re a DUPA sufferer, it’s essential to get diagnosed and treated right away before the symptoms worsen. There are various treatment options available, but these are limited.
Treatment options for DUPA sufferers are of non-surgical nature, including:
Dr Martinick says “Seeing a broad range of medical conditions can cause diffuse hair loss, a non-androgenetic option should be considered in patients experiencing unpatterned alopecia.”
“If one chooses hair transplantation as a permanent solution to hair loss, it is important to rule out Diffused Unpatterned Alopecia.”
“Seeing a specialist who has a thorough familiarity with all hair loss patterns is essential for diagnosing androgenetic alopecia and for planning hair restoration treatments,” says Dr Martinick.