Optical coherence tomography in diagnosis of inflammatory scalp disorders

A. Rajabi-Estarabadi, N. E. Vasquez-Herrera, M. A. Martinez-Velasco, J. Tsatalis, S. H. Verne, K. Nouri, A. Tosti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The common inflammatory scalp disorders share similar clinical manifestations, and patient work up require invasive, undesirable diagnostic procedures like biopsy to ensure correct diagnosis. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive high-resolution imaging modality that has found a valuable tool to assist in the diagnose and evaluation of different skin diseases. Objectives: To describe the structural and vascular dynamic OCT (D-OCT) findings of inflammatory scalp disorders including scalp psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis and contact dermatitis and to compare trichoscopy and OCT features. Methods: Subjects with diagnosis of seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis or contact dermatitis were enrolled in this study. OCT scans were taken on involved scalp, and the same scalp regions were evaluated by trichoscopy and compared with healthy scalp. Results: A total of fourteen subjects (two healthy controls, four seborrhoeic dermatitis, five psoriasis and three contact dermatitis) participated. D-OCT imaging of vascular pattern in healthy scalp and the inflammatory scalp disorders were described. D-OCT images could enhance the clinician's ability to distinguish psoriasis from seborrhoeic dermatitis by objectively detect and assess red loop density. In scalp contact dermatitis, the vessels of the deep plexus were more dilated and fewer in number than those found in seborrhoeic dermatitis. Conclusion: Dynamic OCT provides information that more clearly elucidates changes at the level of the superficial and deep plexuses without invasively interfering with superficial structures. In the context of inflammatory scalp disorders, this is useful to discern disorders with overlapping symptoms and minimize the use of invasive biopsies to diagnose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2147-2151
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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