Corticosteroids: Patients with alopecia areata may receive injections with corticosteroids, such as betamethasone (Celestone®), into the scalp. Patients typically receive these injections monthly. Some patients with extensive hair loss may take corticosteroid pills. Corticosteroid creams and ointments, such as betamethasone (Diprolene®), have been applied to affected areas of the skin. However, creams and ointments are generally less effective than injections.
Hair replacement/restoration surgery: Hair replacement surgery is used to fill in balding areas with a patient's own hair. New hair growth usually begins six to 12 weeks after surgery. The surgery is usually performed by a licensed dermatologic surgeon and rarely requires a hospital stay. Hair replacement surgery is most commonly used for male-pattern baldness. The second most common use is to treat female pattern baldness. Hair restoration can also be used to treat hair loss caused by scarring, burns, irradiation therapy, or past infections, as well as to restore hair to the eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, and any other area.
Medications: A variety of medications may be taken for hair loss. Some of these medications may work for both women and men. Others, however, are restricted in their use to one sex.
Scalp extension or scalp expansion: Scalp expanders or tissue expanders may be used to increase the effectiveness of a scalp reduction. The extender acts like a large rubber band, while the expander acts like a balloon. During the procedure, the extender or expander is inserted under the scalp for about three to four weeks to stretch the hair-bearing areas so they can replace the balding areas. This allows for an even greater reduction in the balding regions. Scalp reduction surgery can be performed alone or in combination with a hair transplant.
Scalp lifts and scalp flaps: Scalp lifts and scalp flaps are surgical procedures that involve rotating larger sections of the hair bearing scalp to cover bald areas. This is mainly used to treat scarring or during trauma repair.
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