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Visit the H.A.I.R. Research Unit
At Mass General Dermatology’s Hair Loss Clinic, our board-certified dermatologists are highly specialized in the diagnosis, management and treatment of hair loss that affects both adolescents and adults. For most people, it is normal to shed 100-150 hairs a day; however, if you are noticing bald spots or excessive hair loss, it may be a sign of alopecia.
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. There are different types of hair loss including;
• patterned hair loss in men and women;• situations that cause increased hair shedding;• focal patches of hair loss due to immune conditions;• and other conditions.
Some types of hair loss are temporary and can regrow. Other forms of hair loss are permanent and once the hair is gone, it cannot regrow. Luckily, most causes of hair loss can be stopped (if diagnosed in time) or treated.
There are many causes for hair loss, which is why it is important to work with a dermatologist skilled in diagnosing hair loss disorders to ensure you receive the correct advice and treatment. More importantly, in some cases hair loss can be a sign of other internal health issues. Below is a list of some possible causes:
• Medical conditions like thyroid disease • Short or long term illness• Hereditary factors• Iron deficiency• Poor diet• Medications• Hormonal imbalance • Physical or emotional stress• Certain hairstyles/hair styling practices • Infections
Thousands of men, women, and children deal with hair loss. Adult patients in particular often feel that they are being “too vain” in seeking the help of a dermatologist with a hair loss issue. But hair is central to our identity, and hair loss is well known to cause negative effects on a person’s self-esteem and self-image.
Depending on the type of hair loss a person has, here at Mass General, our alopecia specialists tailor the treatment plan to the individual. We understand how devastating hair loss can be to a person, and it is our goal to provide patients with safe and effective hair loss treatments.
Maryanne M. Senna, MD, co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss. In addition to treating patients for hair loss: she is developing a specialized Alopecia Research Unit to identify new treatment methods. Diagnosed herself with alopecia in the past, Dr. Senna has personal insight and empathy for her patients.
Mariko Yasuda, MD, co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic is a board certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss. In addition to her clinical skills, Dr. Yasuda has additional expertise in interpreting scalp biopsy specimens in patients who have alopecia.
We use advanced techniques for diagnosing hair loss from a scalp biopsy including using a specialized Headington technique (ie: transverse, horizontal sectioning of scalp biopsy specimens). Advanced diagnostics provide us with detailed information to help determine the best treatment for you. Additionally, we collaborate monthly with both dermatology clinical specialists and pathology specialists to review patient cases. These extra measures help ensure patients receive a complete evaluation; the best options for treatment; and the most successful outcomes.
Lynn A. Drake, MD is a world-renown expert and lecturer on hair loss who provides additional consultation.
For Mass General referring physicians, please refer through the EPIC system under Ambulatory Referral to MGH Dermatology --> Hair Loss Clinic.For referring physicians outside of Mass General, please call 617-726-2914 , Press 1 and ask for the Hair Loss Clinic coordinator.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy (PRP) is a restorative treatment that uses plasma from your own blood to stimulate re-growth of your hair. PRP therapy stimulates the body’s inactive hair follicles to re-grow healthier, thicker hair and aids in the body’s natural healing process. Performed in our office, PRP is a simple, non-surgical treatment that takes less than hour per treatment.
PRP has proven effective for common non-scarring forms of hair loss, which are also known as:
PRP is unlikely to be effective for the following hair loss conditions:
PRP has been used for its wound healing properties in several medical specialties for more than 20 years, and has been used since 2004 for hair loss treatments. The procedure is well tolerated by patients and overall very safe. More recently, studies have shown proven positive results for PRP as an effective treatment for female and male pattern hair loss.
You may be required to have a hair loss consultation before your first treatment. If you are determined to be a good candidate for PRP treatments, you will be scheduled for your first visit.
You will be scheduled for 3 appointments, one month apart.
The day of your treatment, you will be asked medical questions by our nursing staff and we will make sure you are comfortable. One of our board-certified doctors will explain the procedure, benefits, and side effects. The doctor will ask you to sign a consent form.
Afterwards, a nursing staff member will draw blood from your arm and hand the tube to the doctor. The blood will be put into a machine, called a centrifuge that separates the platelet rich plasma. This plasma will have about 5 times more platelets than your normal circulating blood.
Once the PRP is separated, our board-certified doctor will inject the platelet rich plasma to the scalp where the hair loss has begun. By placing the platelet rich plasma directly into the affected areas, it amplifies the body’s natural ability to grow thicker, more dense hair.
Most patients experience minimal discomfort and are able to drive or travel home after the treatment.
Generally, it takes 3-6 months to notice initial hair re-growth. Individual results vary. Within 6 to 12 months, most people notice remarkable improvement.
No. PRP is not covered by medical insurance; you will be expected to pay 50% of the cost prior to your first treatment.
The cost of the procedure is $2,700 total for three monthly injections. The cost is pay-out of pocket and is not covered by insurance.
Contact us at to find out if you are a good candidate for PRP.
The dermatologist will review your completed intake form; any recent lab results (blood work), and/or biopsy results that you may have; a list of your recent medications; and any hair loss treatments that you have tried. Additionally, the dermatologist will ask follow up questions during your visit.
The dermatologist will then examine your scalp and hair, and may perform tests including a hair pull test where a handful of hair is grasped and gently pulled to evaluate for over-shedding. If needed, further blood work or a scalp biopsy might be recommended.
Photographs will be taken and uploaded directly into your medical record for comparison purposes. Baseline photographs are taken for your medical record. These are an important part of the periodic evaluation process as they provide an objective way of measuring your progress.
Your dermatologist will review the diagnosis and cause for the hair loss condition with you and provide recommendations for the best-individualized treatment, and answer any questions you may have.
Based on the patient's history and overall condition, a personalized treatment plan is recommended based on:
1. Manifestations of disease in hair or nails 2. Results of skin biopsy and blood analysis 3. The patient’s overall health and lifestyle
Q. How long will it take for me to see results?A. Hair growth TAKES TIME First, it takes time to stimulate follicles to regrow hair. Then, once the hair starts to grow, it grows at a rate of about 1 centimeter a month. Changes to hair are gradual. It is like watching grass grow. Looking in the mirror every day patients often do not notice the slow, but consistent improvement. Be consistent about treatment for at least a year. You cannot expect any treatment to show improvement in a month or two. Being able to really tell if a treatment is making a noticeable difference takes time. Hair is very different this way than other conditions.
Q. If I am started on treatment for my hair loss, how long do I have to be on it?A. Any treatment that you start for a hair loss condition often needs to be continued long term. Any hair that you have not shed and held onto as a result of treatment and any hair grown as a result of treatment will be lost if treatment is stopped. This is important when considering the best treatment regimen, and is why in some patients one or two treatments are recommended over diving in and doing every possible treatment all at once. If you start a number of treatments all at once, you won’t know if just one or two treatments might have helped just as much, and then you’re stuck doing all of them long term.
Q. There are a lot of products that promise to grow hair fast and reverse hair loss immediately, should I try these?A. Many products do not have the scientific research to back up their claims. Before spending lots of money on a treatment that is not known to be effective, ask your dermatologist.
Q. Is it safe to color my hair?A. TLC or tender loving care is something that all hair needs. Perming, coloring, heat styling can all damage hair and make it more difficult to obtain the results that you want. For more tips on how to care for your hair, please visit the American Academy of Dermatology’s tips for healthy hair.
MGH Hair Loss Clinic- Dr. Maryanne Senna
Research Presented at Professional Meetings
Hagigeorges D, Penzi LR, Manatis-Lornell AJ, Yasuda MR, Senna MM. The Prevalence of Misdiagnosis of Scarring Alopecia from A Facebook Scarring Alopecia Support Group Member Survey. The American Hair Research Society Summit Meeting, Orlando, FL. May 14-16, 2018.
Dermatology Hair Loss Clinic
50 Staniford Street
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