How accurate is miniaturization analysis? My trichologist said unless you examine hair bulbs and shafts under microscope, you cannot determine the exact cause of hair loss. She also said that any thinning looks like male pattern baldness. What do you think of her opinion and the microscopic hair analysis?
A miniaturization mapping is just looking at the hair under a microscope and comparing it with normal hair that is often in the general area you are studying! I have never understood what the trichologist is looking at under the microscope. The accuracy of our mapping process is regional, based upon the changes that occur in miniaturization (often progressive) with genetic balding. More importantly we evaluate the pattern of miniaturization (under a microscope) at different areas of the scalp to determine how extensive it is in areas where future balding will occur, which will always miniaturize prior to becoming bald. Early in the process, the naked eye will often be unable to pick up the changes in thinning, so the mapping here has great value. And in case you missed it, I’ve provided tips on performing your own miniaturization mapping:
- Mapping Your Own Scalp for Miniaturization, Part 1
- Mapping Your Own Scalp for Miniaturization, Part 2
- Mapping Your Own Scalp for Miniaturization – VIDEO
To answer more specifically to what your trichologist said, you don’t need to examine the hair bulbs and shafts under a microscope to determine the exact cause of hair loss. The cause of hair loss is genetic balding in probably 99% of men. We use a miniaturization study to find out if there is early balding and then quantify it as well. We also use a miniaturization study to plan for treatment (medical or surgical) and follow the progress of such treatment plan. Drugs like Propecia may reverse miniaturization.
Finally, if you do not have male pattern baldness (women, for example) looking at hair or its bulb under a microscope wouldn’t tell much unless there is a telogen effluvium. Generally after taking a good medical history and examination, doctors do a scalp biopsy in women (as a last resort) to determine if there is a pathological process or order blood tests to see if there is an underlying medical issue.