Q: I have a bald patch on my scalp diagnosed as DLE, can this be corrected with a hair transplant? – V.Q., Scarsdale, N.Y.
A: DLE or discoid lupus erythematosus is a type of autoimmune disease where the body produces an inflammatory reaction to components of the skin, causing it to scar and lose hair.
The skin in the area of hair loss generally has a smooth appearance with tiny empty hair follicles, redness, and altered pigmentation. These skin changes help to differentiate it from the more common condition alopecia areata where the underlying skin appears normal.
The diagnosis of DLE can be confirmed by biopsy. Because DLE may exhibit a property called Koebnerization, where direct trauma can make the lesions enlarge, surgical hair restoration risks making the condition worse and is, therefore, not indicated.
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