- What is Vitiligo / Leukoderma? What causes Vitiligo?
- Vitiligo / Leukoderma are depigmentary disorders in which irregular, white patches appear on different parts of the body, because melanocytes (the cells which form melanin pigment) in the skin are destroyed or stop functioning. It has more striking and disfiguring effects especially on individuals with ethnic (like Indians or Asians) or dark skin types.
- The exact cause of vitiligo is still unknown and it can be associated with autoimmune, neural, genetic, oxidative stress or viral causes.
- What are various treatments available for Vitiligo?
The treatment for Vitiligo is divided into 3 types:
- Medical: using immune-modulating drugs like systemic and topical corticosteroids, minocycline, levamisole and vitamin supplementation. Medical treatment is good option for stabilizing the fast spreading vitiligo, but the results obtained for repigmentation of existing patches with medical treatment are unreliable and non-satisfactory.
- Light based: PUVA and NB-UVB phototherapy to the whole body and targeted phototherapy by UVB laser, Excimer laser and Excimer lamp. But these therapies produce dotted repigmentation which is cosmetically not well accepted, thus are generally used as supplementary therapy to vitiligo surgery.
- Surgical: The aim of surgical treatment is to bring back natural color to the abnormal white patches which are resistant to conventional therapies. It is done by complete skin transfers from healthy, pigmented areas or using the latest cell transplantation technique.
- What are types of Vitiligo surgery and who needs it?
Vitiligo surgery is recommended for areas which are cosmetically disfiguring and resistant to medical treatment. Vitiligo surgery aims at restoration of normal pigmented skin through surgical means, which can be:
- Complete skin transfers: by suction blister grafting / punch grafting.
Cell transplantations: there are various methods available like cultured melanocyte suspension transplant and
non-cultured melanocyte suspension transplant.
LA-PEEST or laser assisted PRP enriched epidermal suspension transplant is the latest, innovative and the most effective treatment for stable vitiligo patches
as of now and the procedure is giving exemplary results.
It achieves nearly complete repigmentation of the skin in 75-85% of the patients.
- What types of Vitiligo patches are treatable?
- The patches which are stable and not spreading for past 3 months are treatable. Even the large areas of white patches can be treated at all body parts including delicate areas like upper eyelids, under arms and groins.
- Do you need anaesthesia for this surgery?
- Yes, the procedure is done under local anaesthesia.
- How long does this treatment take? When do the results start showing up?
- The duration of the surgery depends upon the size of area being treated. Usually it takes 2-3 hours. The dressing is removed after 14 days.
- The earliest pigmentation starts within 2 weeks of surgery and the significant repigmentation is noticed in 2 to 3 months.
- Is it a plastic surgery or what?
Yes, it is a type of plastic surgery. In this procedure, after taking skin from the healthy donor area of body, its epidermal layer containing melanocytes is separated using various solutions;
and then PRP enriched epidermal suspension is made which is then transplanted over the denuded, depigmented vitiligo site.
- Any dietary restrictions?
- No, dietary restrictions are required for this treatment. Infact, you are advised to stay on high protein, nutritious diet for better healing.
- Any side effects of this Vitiligo surgical treatment?
- Laser assisted PRP enriched epidermal suspension transplant is a very safe and effective treatment for stable Vitiligo. It has no significant side effects, provided it is done by fully trained and expert Dermatologist taking strict aseptic precautions.