Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is a medical technique of implanting exogenous, metabolically inert pigment into the skin with the help of an electrically driven machine. With increasing hair loss and decrease in density of hair the scalp skin can be seen easily due to increase in contrast between hair and skin. This contrast can be minimized by using various concealing techniques like hair fibers, wigs, concealers etc. The short comings with these techniques is that they are temporary.Compared to these modalities, micropigmentation is a semi permanent technique of concealing the bald area by implanting pigmentation into the scalp or skin.
Procedure of Scalp Micropigmentation
The procedure is done under aseptic conditions under local anesthesia. The pigment is introduced below the dermal–epidermal junction, at specific depth with the help of automated sterile needles. SMP is not simple unlike body tattooing due to the difference in the thickness and vasculature of the scalp skin compared to the rest of the body. This can be done with the hair remaining long or on a shaved scalp. Very small dots less than 1 mm in size are created with the help of sterile automated needles which give an illusion of hair by decreasing contrast between hair and skin.
If the pigment is placed only in the epidermis, the results will fail because the pigment will leak out within few days after the procedure is done. If the pigment is placed too deep into the dermis, it will fail as it diffuses outside the confines of its original area of placement. Hence the depth of the needle needs to be controlled manually by the feel of the resistance a very difficult skill that takes considerable experience. The needles are worked into the superficial dermis and this is the portion of the pigment that remains long term.
The sessions vary in time depending on the area to be covered. Patients will have two to four sessions before the process is complete to assure that only the upper layer of the dermis is penetrated.
Conditions where SMP is useful
- In patients with very poor donor area and in whom hair transplantation cannot be performed.
- In combination with hair transplantation in patients with larger recipient area but have limited hair at the donor site . SMP can be used to give the feel of fullness of hair.
- Females who are balding or with thin hair who are resistant to minoxidil or other medical treatments and do not qualify for hair transplantation.
- Scarring alopecia or cicatricial alopecia due to any infections, surgeries or accidents etc (including the previously performed FUT scars)
- Autoimmune diseases such as refractory alopecia areata or alopecia totalis who are not responding to conventional modalities of treatment.
- Chemotherapy patients, who do not get back significant amount of hair after treatment.
- People who dislike using topical concealers or wigs.
Factors affecting the SMP results
Ideal pigment deposit correlates to:
- Angle of needle against the scalp (operator variable factor)
- Depth of needle into the scalp (operator variable factor)
- Time the needle is left in the scalp (operator variable factor)
- Resistance of the scalp (scared scalp vs. normal scalp)
- Color of pigment
- Viscosity of pigment
- Needle size, type, number
- Cycling speeds of the SMP machine
- Pain and bleeding
- Infections ( bacterial infections, HIV , hepatitis, superficial and deep fungal infections)
- Allergies to the pigment injected and foreign body granulomas
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) complications, such as swelling and pain from the metals in the pigments when exposed to the powerful MRI magnets
Professional tattooists have no experience dealing with the many variables of the human disease or scarred scalp. There is an increasing number of problems caused by the novices that reflect poor judgments in the technical and artistic delivery of SMP.
SMP is a relatively new modality for cosmetic dermatologists and hair transplant surgeons. Since this is a cosmetic tattoo, the elegance of the results reflects the technical and artistic skills of experienced providers. Gaining experience in this process can bring great happiness to millions of people who have, heretofore, had few options in treating their hair and scalp deformities.
Doctor's at 4 Senses Clinic are experts in micropigmentation of both skin and scalp. Very reliable and long lasting results have been achieved and has many satisfied patients. For Doctor’s Appointment Contact Call:6366494494