What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder characterized by the appearance of white or discoloured patches on the skin. It affects nearly 1% of the world population.
Vitiligo usually appears between the age of 10 and 30 years, and is more likely to affect people with darker skin, but it can happen to any person regardless of the age, gender or race. These white patches on the skin do not spread from person to person, and has nothing to do with your diet. But, it is more likely to get triggered by autoimmune diseases, like alopecia areata, pernicious anemia, etc.
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What are the causes of Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is caused due to the damage of melanocytes, the cells that give colour to the skin, hair and nails. Though the actual reason behind this condition is unknown, but it is said to be due to the body’s own immune system that think melanocytes as foreign cells and attack them.
Is Vitiligo treatable?
Yes, vitiligo is treatable.
In case of unstable vitiligo, we prefer use of various topical as well as oral medicines for vitiligo treatment. The medications are chosen on the basis of various factors, including the affected body surface area and the number of new patches developed in the last 1-3 months. The most commonly prescribed medicine is a potent or super-potent topical Corticosteroid and Tacrolimus cream. They work more effectively, when combined with other medicines.
This technique involves the use of laser/light devices to treat the white spots on the skin. We recommend light treatments along with topical medications for better and faster results.
- Phototherapy: Phototherapy involves the use of various electromagnetic rays to treat Leucoderma (vitiligo). PUVA or Photochemotherapy is a common type of Phototherapy in which the patient is asked to have a medication called Psoralen and then, expose the area to be treated to UVA rays. This technique works in two ways- it kills the abnormal immune cells (cells damaging the melanocytes) and increases the resistance to sunlight. This way, it increases the quantity of melanocytes and thus, let you get rid of vitiligo
We provide surgical treatments with a very high success rate to patients with stable vitiligo. That means, no new spot developed or change in the size of the existing ones in the last one year.
- Autologous Melanocyte Transplant: It is the most advanced and just the best vitiligo treatment. During a melanocyte transplantation, a sample of your unaffected pigmented skin is taken out and melanocytes present in thin skin is separated and then, they are transplanted to the vitiligo affected area. This technique has more than 80% chances of repigmentation and expansion ratio is 1:10.
- Hair Transplantation: Hair Transplant surgery is also an effective method to treat stable vitiligo. Since the hair follicles are good reservoirs of melanocytes, the hair follicles are transplanted to the area to be treated. The melanocytes present in the hair follicles spread to the surrounding area and repigmented the skin
- Suction Blister grafting: In this treatment for white skin spots, blisters are created on the patient’s pigmented skin using suction. The tops of the blisters are taken out and transplanted to the vitiligo affected area. This method is also effective to cure vitiligo, as it leaves minimal scarring in the recipient or donor site.
- Autologous Skin grafts/ Split Thickness Skin grafts (STSG): This vitiligo method involves shaving off thin layers of skin from the unaffected skin and sowing/stapling on the area to be treated. It is useful to treat larger body areas and produce consistent pigmentation with no cobblestoning.
What about the results?
The results vary from patient to patient. In some cases, the response to vitiligo treatments is immediate, while in the other cases, the considerable results are seen after a few months. Likewise, the repigmentation at non-hair bearing region like finger tips and ankles is a little slower than that in case of other body areas.