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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Occipital alopecia following cardiopulmonary bypass.

Postoperative alopecia is a minor complication of surgery but a cosmetic disaster to the patient. Over a 3 year period, 60 cases of occipital alopecia were discovered in patients following open-heart surgery and 5 cases on other surgical services. In contrast to previous reports, 29 patients had alopecia one year later, presumed to be permanent. Extensive operations, with prolonged recovery and elective overnight mechanical ventilation, were common to all. Retrospective analysis and prospective studies clearly demonstrated that localized scalp pressure was the cause of the alopecia and that the duration of pressure determined the extent of the damage. Moving the patient's head at regular intervals during operation and recovery eliminated the alopecia. The type of head rest used did not modify the development of alopecia. Electrical injury and the use of heparin, hypothermia, electrocautery, or hypotension were eliminated as possible causes. Conclusive evidence correlating periperative events with the formation of pressure sores in man has not been previously reported.[1]


  1. Occipital alopecia following cardiopulmonary bypass. Lwason, N.W., Mills, N.L., Ochsner, J.L. J. Thorac. Cardiovasc. Surg. (1976) [Pubmed]
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