Hair Loss Commonly Experienced in Patients Following Acromegaly Surgery
Though hair loss in the scalp is frequently witnessed in clinical practice in Japan following acromegaly treatment, Japanese researchers argue that the phenomenon has rarely been broached in medical literature. Because of this, they set out to explore hair loss after acromegaly surgery in their recent study, “Scalp hair loss after transsphenoidal adenomectomy in patients with acromegaly.”
Led by researchers at Toranomon Hospital and the Okinaka Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Tokyo, the study was published online ahead of print in September 2012 in Clinical Endocrinology.
The study authors mailed questionnaires to 511 patients who were undergoing surgery for acromegaly. Results from 484 respondents were included in the final analysis. Information was gathered about participants’ scalp hair loss following their surgery, the success of their procedure, whether they suffered from other post-operative complications, and demographic factors.
The results indicate that hair loss is indeed a problem experienced by many patients who undergo surgery for acromegaly. Of those included in the study, more than half of participants (54%) experienced some level of hair loss between 3 and 6 months following their procedure. Hair loss was more common in women, patients with severe post-operative growth hormone deficiency, and patients who were cured. However, in patients with non-functioning adenomas, hair loss was slight—it was seen in only 6 (3.6%) of those 167 participants.
Some patients did see some recovery of their hair: 32% saw a full recovery, and 34% saw a partial recovery. However, 34% saw very little recovery.
The authors state that their study is the first of its kind to highlight the problem of post-operative scalp hair loss in patients who have had surgery for acromegaly. They argue that this demonstrates a need for medical professionals to inform patients of prospective hair loss side effects, particularly following a successful surgery.