All About Melanocyte Cell Transplantation Procedure

All About Melanocyte Cell Transplantation Procedure

Skin is one of the most visual elements of the human body and in today’s social media world, people do everything in their strength to make it shiny and flawless. In such a case a person with skin disease like vitiligo could take a toll on his/her self-esteem. However medical advancement in dermatology has given us Melanocyte cell transplantation that can cover the vitiligo patches effectively.

In this blog, we are going to cover the fundamentals of this procedure, step by step process, and the advantages of it over other procedures in the market.

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin-related disease in which a patch of skin starts losing color. This discolored patch keeps getting bigger over a period of time. This happens when the melanin-producing cells either die or the cells stop producing melanin. Vitiligo not only affects the skin but also hair turning it grey. This disease can happen to people of any skin color but it looks prominent on people with darker skin. Vitiligo however is not a life-threatening disease.

Related Blog: Everything You Need to Know About Vitiligo: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments


What is Melanocyte Cell Transplantation?

In order to cover the discolored skin patch caused due to vitiligo, there are different medical procedures available. However many of these medical procedures do not give the desired result. For example, a tissue graft procedure needs a vast donor skin area to extract the desired cells which might not be possible in many cases.

Melanocyte Cell Transplantation is an effective method that involves autologous cultured and non-cultured melanocytes through cell expansion without culture or melanocyte cocultures. The biggest advantage of this procedure is that there is no requirement for cell culture and the skin can be operated on in just a single 3-hour procedure.


Melanocyte Cell Transplantation Procedure

Melanocyte cell transplantation procedure can be divided into four parts. Below mentioned are the details of the procedure.

Step 1: Harvesting A Skin Graft

In this first procedure, the lateral aspect of the gluteal region is selected. This selected region is called a donor area. It has to be made sure that the donor area does not have any vitiligo patches. This area should be one-tenth of the size of the recipient area. If the patient has multiple patches on the skin that has spread across the skin then a bigger donor area is selected to harvest which should be one fifth the size of the recipient area. To avoid any chances of infection, a superficial sample is harvested using a shaving blade that’s held in straight Kocher forceps.

 Step 2: Cell Separation

In this procedure, the skin cells harvested are transferred to a petri dish that contains 5 ml of trypsin solution. It is incubated at a temperature of 37 degrees for around 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, the action of trypsin is neutralized with trypsin inhibitor after which the epidermis is separated from the dermis and is put in a test tube that contains a solution which is a mixture of nutrient and vortex. The separated epidermis is further broken down in a petri dish and washed with DMEM/F-12 before transferring to a test tube that also has DMEM/F-12.

This test tube containing the broken down epidermis is then centrifuged for 6 minutes. The resulting supernatant is removed and the pellet that’s found at the bottom of the test tube is suspended in a 1 ml insulin syringe.

Step 3: Dermabrasion Of The Recipient Area

Once the donor epidermis is ready, the next step in the procedure is the dermabrasion of the recipient area. The recipient area is abraded with a diamond fraise wheel. The area close to the eye is abraded with a smaller wheel to avoid any eye injury. The abrasion procedure is complete when the recipient area has pinpoint bleeding. That’s when Hemostasis is achieved and the recipient area is covered with gauze pieces soaked in saline.

 Step 4: Transfer And Fixing Of Melanocyte Rich Cell Suspension

After the abrasion, the cells harvested from the donor area Is spread evenly with the use of Pasteur pipette and is later covered with collagen dressing that helps is holding the cells applied. It is further covered with liquid paraffin and gauze pieces. The doctor advises the patients to lie in the same position for at least an hour to ensure cell fixation post which the patient is shifted to another room. The patients are advised to avoid any excessive movements especially in the treated area for a minimum of six hours.


Post-Procedure Care

After the melanocyte cell transplantation procedure, the patients are advised to take complete rest for the following five days and consume nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for three days. Patients need to take care of the dressing around the operated area while making sure it does not get wet while performing activities like taking bath and going to the bathroom. The dressing in most cases is removed one week after the surgery. The patient needs to come to the clinic for checkups on week 1, week 3, and then every 3 months.

Other precautions that patients need to take include not scrubbing the operated area and use makeup only after ten days of the removal of the dressing.


Key Advantages Of Melanocyte Cell Transplantation Procedure

Below mentioned are some of the key advantages of undergoing this procedure

  • The operated area gets a great texture that matches the skin color of the patient
  • Better results compared to punch grafting and split-thickness grafting
  • Large areas can be operated in a single session using this procedure
  • The patient can use makeup as early as ten days post removal of dressing to better cover the area


The Bottom Line

To conclude melanocyte cell transplantation is one of the most effective medical procedures for vitiligo that gives great results. Minimal invasive procedure and short recovery time make this procedure ideal for most vitiligo patients.

If you need more information about melanocyte cell transplantation procedure or looking for expert advice, call us at +91 9803-029-029. You can also fill the enquiry form and one of our representatives will get in touch with you.

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