Vitiligo surgery aims to produce complete repigmentation that matches the surrounding normal skin in terms of appearance. Because not all patients or vitiliginous skin sites are appropriate for surgery, proper patient selection is critical to achieving the best results.


What are the types of vitiligo surgery?

All surgical treatments aim to transplant melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) from healthy skin (the donor site) to vitiligo-affected skin.

There are two main categories of surgical treatment for vitiligo:

  • Grafting of melanocyte-rich tissue (tissue grafting)
  • Grafting of melanocyte cells (cellular grafting)

What kinds of Phototherapy are used for treating Vitiligo?


Type of Therapy

How is it conducted? Notes
  • Melanocyte skin cells are removed from healthy, pigmented part of the body and transplanted to the pigment-less area
  • Short-term (>6 months) and Long-term (<12 months) appointments must be scheduled to track progress and patient health
Punch Grafting
  • Holes are punched into the skin, removing the scar, and fresh skin gets plugged into the area
  • Full or correct pigmentation is never guaranteed.
  • Infection, graft tissue loss, and graft tissue rejection are possibilities in this treatment option
Blister Grafting
  • Blisters are created on healthy skin, the tops of the blisters are then removed and then transplanted to the recipient site
  • Infection and graft rejection are possibilities
  • Will leave donor site with blisters
  • Success rate of 68-70% in patients
Split Skin Grafting
  • A thin layer of skin is removed from pigmented skin and then transplanted into pigment-less skin
  • Infection and graft rejection are possibilities
  • Full or correct pigmentation is not guaranteed
  • Improved results when combined with phototherapy options
Cultured Autografts
  • A cultured autograft is a tissue grown from ones own skin cell, which when fully formed is transplanted to the body
  • Difficult to make, expensive procedure, limited amount available
  • Infection, graft failure, and graft rejection are possibilities
  • Skin used in this procedure has a higher risk of developing skin cancer

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