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Surgical Treatments And Therapies For Vitiligo

There are various forms of surgical modalities available to treat vitiligo as surgical treatments for vitiligo. However the type of method or operative treatment depends upon the type and the location of the lesion. Therefore, choice of the appropriate surgical method is important for good cosmetic consequences. They different types of surgical treatments are –
  • Miniature punch grafting - In this form of surgical treatment for vitiligo, multiple grafts of thin skin that are approximately two to 2.5 mm in diameter are removed from the donor's body through special punches and are grafted on to the affected skin area. Once the grafts have been inserted on the patient's affected skin site, the patient is counseled to undergo the PUVA or PUVA SOL treatment. The natural skin or the re-pigmentation takes place in approximately three to six months and desirable cosmetic results are seen.

  • Ultra thin skin grafting - A very miniscule graft of healthy skin, which is almost ultra thin or hair-like, comprising of the epidermis, is transplanted on the piece of stable vitiligo. After eight to ten days the graft usually falls off and a cellular uptake of melanocytes there takes place on the skin which has been worn off or scrubbed off. Eventually the skin starts pigmenting, and it takes approximately two to three months for the skin pigmentation to blend and correspond with the surrounding normal skin color.

  • Suction blister grafting - an elongated suction or negative pressure is used on the donor site which gives rise to a large blister and a thin graft comprising only the epidermis is taken out. This skin is grafted on to the recipient's skin surface. Apparently this form of surgical treatment takes time but gives out good cosmetic results.

  • Melanocyte transplantation - Through this method, melanocytes are cultivated in artificial cultures. The de-pigmented recipient's skin surface is slightly abraded as the dermatologist deems fit and the melanocyte suspension is put on the skin site. The skin area is then treated with a dressing made from collagen and wrapped around with a surgical dressing. The large areas of affected skin are usually treated with this method and excellent results are shown.

  • Tattooing - Through the method of tattooing artificial pigmentation is injected into the de-pigmented region. After choosing the shade of pigmentation that matches the surrounding normal skin color, the pigment grains are transplanted into the de-pigmented spots either through the help of manual or electrically operated needles. Although the patches begin to resemble the covering normal skin, it likely that the normal skin color may fade away or may acquire a bluish hue after a couple of years. If such a reaction takes place which is distinctly noticeable the patient may undergo mental trauma due to the appearance hence, tattooing is not usually counseled unless the patch is in a site which is inoperable.