Q: What is the Origin of the Term DUPA? — Z.Z., Darien, CT
A: The terms DPA and DUPA were first described by O’tar Norwood in his seminal 1975 publication: Male Pattern Baldness: Classification and Incidence. ((Norwood OT. Male pattern baldness: classification and incidence. So. Med. J 1975;68:1359-1365. Download)) In the paper, Dr. Norwood defined the two terms as:
Diffuse, Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA). In this type there is a general decrease in the density of hair without any definite pattern, although it is usually more marked over the top and front. This type is common in women.
Diffuse, Patterned Alopecia (DPA). The patterns in this type of hair loss are essentially the same as in more common male pattern baldness, but the areas involved do not become totally bald; the hair only decreases in density. This also occurs in women.
Dr. Norwood’s realization that all hair loss did NOT follow his own Norwood patterns was a great insight, as well as his observation that DUPA was a common pattern in women and uncommon in men. The terms went relatively unnoticed and were not seen again in the medical literature until Drs. Bernstein and Rassman wrote about them again when they were developing Follicular Unit Transplantation. ((Bernstein RM, Rassman WR: Follicular Transplantation: Patient Evaluation and Surgical Planning. Dermatol Surg 1997; 23: 771-84. Download)) The importance of identifying these conditions is that that DUPA (either in men or women) is a relative contra-indication for hair transplantation and, with densitometry, can be readily detected in individuals at a relatively young age. Patients with DPA can be transplanted as if they were early Norwood Class 6’s.
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