While there has been no cure for vitiligo, many treatment techniques have come as a rescue for the patients suffering from this auto-immune disease. However, dermasurgery can serve as a possible cure for vitiligo. Dermasurgery involves using surgical procedures to cover up the sites of white patches and induce repigmentation in them by producing new melanocytes. The surgery can be performed either through skin grafting or through melanocyte transplants.
Techniques of Dermasurgery
There are various techniques in which a skin grafting, or a melanocyte transplant can be performed.
Mini Punch Grafting: It is a very simple and effective technique, most commonly used by the doctors. Small skin pieces are punched from the donor site, usually the buttocks or the thighs. Similar sized holes are punched on the depigmented skin and the skin piece taken from the donor site is grafted onto this recipient site. These new skin grafts start producing pigment and bring back the skin to its normal skin tone.
Split Thickness Skin Grafts: It is similar to punch grafting, except that larger and thinner sections of skin are shaved off. These sections are then grafted onto the affected area where the skin is removed. This technique is usually used to treat larger areas affected with depigmentation.
Suction Blister Grafts: Under this technique, epidermis is separated from the dermis by applying suction over the skin. This leads to formation of blisters on the skin. These blisters are surgically removed, cut to appropriate shape and size and then grafted on the affected areas of the skin. The affected areas of skin are prepared first for the transplant by removing the upper layers using a dermabrader. The technique is however time-consuming as it takes approximately one to two hours for the formation of blisters. Moreover, the blister formation is painful as well.
Melanocyte Transplant Therapies: Under this therapy, melanocyte cells are transplanted onto the affected skin areas. The affected skin is first abraded using a laser or dermabrader. Then melanocyte cells from normal skin are transplanted onto the abraded skin and covered until it is healed. This helps in formation of new melanocyte cells in the affected skin lesion.
Who can Undergo Surgery?
Although dermasurgery is an effective method to treat vitiligo, not every patient can be treated using these surgeries. There are many factors to be considered such as the age of the patient, type of vitiligo, method of surgery and proposed donor site. One of the most important factors to be considered is the stability of the disease.
Vitiligo is caused because of an auto-immune disorder, where the immune system attacks and kills the melanocyte cell of the skin, thereby making the skin lose its color. This means that the immune system can also attack the new melanocyte cells transplanted through the skin grafts and melanocyte grafts. However, if the disease has become stable, that is an indication that the immune system has come to rest and will no more attack the melanocyte cells. This will give the melanocyte cells the chance for repigmentation of the skin.
It can however not be said with surety if the disease has become stable or not, but the doctors opt for surgery only for patients who have had no new formations of depigmented skin in the past 6months to 2years. Moreover, surgeries are never recommended for children as there are rare chances that the disease has become stable in children.
The surgical procedures have been very effective in treating vitiligo and has come with great results. It has lead to more than 75% repigmentation in most of the patients. Moreover, there are not many downsides of these surgical procedures. Mayra provides all these surgical treatments with great precision using the most advanced techniques and equipments. The procedure is performed with due care and expertise so that there are minimal side effects from the procedure. Surgical procedure can be your way to get rid of vitiligo for a long time. It can also serve as a possible cure. So, book an appointment soon.