Vitiligo / White Spot India
It is a skin condition that results in the loss of pigmentation of the skin resulting in white patches that feel as if it is part of the skin. Exact cause of vitiligo is not clear but it is believed to be an autoimmune disease, which means that there is abnormal immune response to normal body part. Sometimes, trauma to skin can also result in the development of vitiligo. Vitiligo (leukoderma/white spot) generally affects the face, hands & feet, elbows and genital area.
These white patches of Vitiligo appear on different parts of the body, because melanocytes (the cells which are responsible to form melanin pigment) of skin are destroyed or stop functioning.The effect is more striking and disfiguring in individuals with dark skin types (like we Indians).
The exact cause of vitiligo is still not known, it can be associated with autoimmune, neural, genetic, oxidative stress, or viral causes.
There are 3 types of treatment for Vitiligo:
- Medical Treatment: using immune-modulating drugs like systemic and topical corticosteroids, minocycline, levamisole, Calcineurin Inhibitors like Tacrolimus and Vitamin-D like Calipotriol supplementation. Results acheived with medical treatment are not predictable or permanent and unsatisfactory.
- Light based Vitiligo Therapy: PUVA and NB-UVB phototherapy to whole body or targeted phototherapy by Excimer lasers. These therapies generally cause patchy or dotted repigmentation which may be unacceptable cosmetically.
- Surgical: Surgical treatment of Vitiligo/White spot/ Leukoderma aims at bringing back natural color to white patches, which are resistant to conventional therapies. It is done by either complete skin transfers as Split Thickness Skin Graft from healthy, pigmented areas or by using the latest black pigmentation transplantation technique called as “Non-cultured Melanocyte transfer”, which is available at Saraswat Hospital, Agra for the first time in Agra region.
Commonly asked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about “Non-cultured Melanocyte transfer” procedure are:
What different types of surgery for Vitiligo are available?
Vitiligo surgery aims to restore of normal pigmented skin through surgical means, which can be:
- Complete skin transfers: by suction blister grafting / punch grafting/sheet grafting.
- Pigment Cell transplant/transfer : It is called “non-cultured melanocyte (or epidermal) suspension” transplant. This is the latest and also the most effective treatment for stable vitiligo patches. We have a special Lab for this procedure at Saraswat Hospital and it is giving results as per the International Standards. It achieves nearly complete repigmentation of the skin in 70-90% patients.
What types of Vitiligo patches are best suited for “Non-cultured Melanocyte transfer” treatment?
Stable Patches not spreading for past 3-6 months are treatable by Non-cultured Melanocyte transfer. Even large areas of white patches can be treated by this method.
Do you need anaesthesia for this surgery?
The procedure is done under either Local Anaesthesia or General Anesthesia.
How long does this treatment take?
The duration of the surgery depends upon the size of area being treated. Usually it takes 2-3 hours. The dressing is removed after 7 days.
When do the results start showing up?
The earliest pigmentation starts within 4 weeks of surgery and the significant repigmentation is noticed in 3-5 months.
Is it a type of plastic surgery?
Yes, it is a type of Plastic & Cosmetic 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 this non-cultured melanocytic suspension is transplanted over the dermabraded depigmented site.
Are there any dietary restrictions?
No, dietary restrictions are required for this treatment.
Any side effects of this Vitiligo surgery treatment?
Non-cultured melanocyte suspension transplantation is a very safe treatment for stable Vitiligo. It has no significant side effects, provided it is done by fully trained and expert Plastic & Cosmetic surgeon like Dr Satya Saraswat and done at a proper Operation Theatre after taking all aseptic precautions. At present it is the most advanced treatment available for Vitiligo.