Standardization of SMP Procedure and Its Impact On Outcome

J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2017 Jul-Sep;10(3):145-149. doi: 10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_116_16.


Background: Cosmetic deformities can result from various types of alopecia or even post hair transplantation procedures. Patients with such deformities seek aesthetically appealing longer-lasting options. Scalp concealers are commonly used by men and women to camouflage these deformities. Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is one of the concealers recently gaining popularity.

Objectives: SMP is a novel technique wherein microdot tattoos are placed in a stippling pattern to mimic hair follicles that are cut close to the scalp and various variables affecting its outcome were evaluated.

Methods: Forty-five subjects were recruited for the study. The various factors affecting outcome of SMP-angle of needle against the scalp, depth of needle into the scalp, time of the needle contact in scalp, speed of the rotor, resistance of scalp, color of pigment, viscosity of dye, needle number, needle thickness, and pattern of dot placement-were systematically studied in 15 patients through clinical photographs and trichoscopy. Ideal depth of pigment deposition was assessed through histopathological examination. After using these optimum variables, standardized SMP was performed in 30 patients with hair loss (3 patients with cicatricial and 27 patients with diffuse non-cicatricial alopecia). SMP was also used to create an aesthetically denser hairline. The outcome of the procedure was evaluated using standardized global photographs.

Results: The ideal parameters were established to achieve standard reproducible results. There were great patient satisfaction and acceptance of the procedure. All the patients showed moderate to great improvement after the procedure with satisfactory scalp coverage. Adverse events were transient which were seen in the form of edema and redness.

Conclusion: SMP offers a non-medical, tattoo-based cosmetically appealing and effective "cover-up" that hides the unsightly conditions. The cosmetic tattoo placement creates an illusion of thicker hair.

Keywords: SMP; alopecia; hair; illusion; micropigmentation; scalp.