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Brocq Pseudopelade Workup

  • Author: Kendall M Egan, MD, FAAD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
Updated: Oct 30, 2015

Laboratory Studies

Other than scalp biopsy, no laboratory test has been found useful in establishing the diagnosis of pseudopelade of Brocq. If the history or physical examination findings suggest evidence of lupus erythematosus, antinuclear antibody testing would be appropriate.



Scalp biopsy

Two 4-mm punch biopsy specimens should be obtained from an orientation along the direction of the hair follicle. Specimens should ideally be taken from a clinically well-established but active area of alopecia to include both normal and affected hair-bearing areas. One punch biopsy specimen should be submitted for horizontal sectioning and one for vertical sections if possible, both stained with hematoxylin and eosin and elastic tissue stains. The second punch biopsy specimen can be bisected vertically to accommodate both direct immunofluorescence (DIF) and hematoxylin and eosin staining.[7]


Histologic Findings

The histopathologic criteria established by Pinkus were not correlated in any way with the clinical features.[17] Thus, pseudopelade as described by Pinkus is a histologic and not a clinical entity. In secondary pseudopelade, the histologic findings are those of a burnt-out scarring alopecia with absent hair follicles and fibrosis. Elastic tissue is absent in scarred areas. Idiopathic pseudopelade is characterized by a contracted dermis with dense collagen and loss of space between collagen bundles. Elastic fibers are recoiled and appear thick. Broad fibrous tract remnants are noted with preservation of the elastic sheath.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Kendall M Egan, MD, FAAD Dermatologist, Veteran's Affairs Medical Center; Dermatologist, Spruce Health, Dermatologist, DermOne

Kendall M Egan, MD, FAAD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Kimberly L Maino, MD Mohs Surgeon and Dermatologist, Aurora Skin Care Center

Kimberly L Maino, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Mohs Surgery, American Medical Association, Women's Dermatologic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey J Miller, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine; Staff Dermatologist, Pennsylvania State Milton S Hershey Medical Center

Jeffrey J Miller, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology, Association of Professors of Dermatology, North American Hair Research Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author, Leonard Sperling, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

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Irregularly shaped patch of scarring alopecia on the occiput of a middle-aged white woman. This asymptomatic lesion was first discovered by the patient's hairdresser.
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