Follicular anatomy of the anterior temporal hairline and implications for rhytidectomy

Arian Mowlavi, Ramsey K. Majzoub, Damon S. Cooney, Bradon J. Wilhelmi, Bahman Guyuron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Incisions made perpendicular to the hair follicles during anterior frontal hairline brow lifts or forehead shortening procedures help produce an inconspicuous forehead scar. The success of this "hidden" incision relies on the anteriorly directed frontal hairline follicles and their growth vector. The authors hypothesized that a similar incision could be made perpendicular to the hair follicles in the temple region during rhytidectomy. A well-designed anterior hairline beveled incision over the temple would allow for improved leverage during soft-tissue repositioning and a concealed hairline incision in the temple region. METHODS: Anterior temporal hairline strips 4 cm in length at the level of the lateral canthus were excised from 16 fresh cadavers. Hairline follicles (n = 227) were assessed for direction and angle of growth after appropriate tissue preparation and staining (hematoxylin and eosin). The hair follicle angle was analyzed microscopically as it approached the epidermis. RESULTS: The anterior temporal hairline follicles were oriented at a mean angle with the epidermis of 16 ± 3 degrees anteriorly and inferiorly. CONCLUSIONS: The anterior temporal hairline follicles of the scalp are oriented anteriorly and inferiorly with the epidermis, providing the surgical rational for using a beveled hairline incision angled 30 to 45 degrees to the external skin surface to undercut the distal flap. This incision is perpendicular to and transects the temporal hair follicles during rhytidectomy, permitting hair growth through and anterior to the scar. This modified anterior temporal hairline incision reduces visibility of the scar at the hairline for patients in whom scar show and hairstyle versatility are important concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1891-1895
Number of pages5
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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