Vitiligo Treatment: Light Therapy & Surgery

Vitiligo is a skin condition characterised by white milky uneven patches. These patches can be treated to even tone the skin. The choice of Vitiligo treatment depends on various factors such as patient’s age, percentage of widespread, the progression of the disease and how Vitiligo is affecting one’s life.

Light-based therapies are done to help restore the lost skin colour or to give a unified skin tone. Some people may also experience some side-effects and hence a skin specialist may recommend some self-tanning products before taking you through the treatment process.

Whatever the treatment process your skin specialist recommends, it will take a few weeks or even months to deliver the expected results. Also, be prepared to go for a combination of therapies where the doctor may prescribe more than one therapy to get the desired results through a best suitable treatment for your skin. Moreover, the doctor may prescribe some maintenance therapy to prevent relapse.

Light-based therapies

  • Phototherapy: Phototherapy performed with narrowband ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) has proven to stop or at least slow the disease progression. If used with corticosteroids inhibitors, the therapy works even more effectively. This therapy usually requires two-three sessions per week for two-three months to make a significant difference. Possible side effects of phototherapy include redness, itching or inflammation. However, these side effects usually go away within a few hours of the treatment.
  • Targeted Phototherapy: Also called as concentrated phototherapy, it is performed to delivers ultraviolet radiation on a targeted spot. This phototherapy is targeted on the skin lesion using special delivery mechanisms for treatment.
  • Depigmentation: This therapy is performed to remove the remaining pigment in Vitiligo affected person’s body. It is only recommended for patients with 50% or more widespread Vitiligo. To perform this therapy, the doctor will recommend applying depigmentation agent on the unaffected areas of the skin which will gradually lighten the skin tone to match with the Vitiligo affected areas. The therapy is usually given once or twice a week for a few months. It’s a permanent therapy and cannot be undone afterwards. This therapy does not cause any major side-effects. Minor side effects such as redness, itching, swelling or dryness may occur.

Surgical treatment for Vitiligo

Surgery is recommended when light therapy or other medications do not work to stabilise the condition. This treatment is also recommended for people with stable Vitiligo disease. Surgical techniques used to even out skin tone can be of different types.

  • Skin grafting: This procedure is performed by transferring very small segments of healthy, pigmented skin to the discoloured areas. This procedure is usually recommended for patients with small patches of Vitiligo.
  • Blister grafting: To perform this procedure, the doctor creates blister on the pigmented skin using suction and then transplants the blister tops on the discoloured patches.
  • Cellular suspension transplant: To perform this procedure, the doctor will take some tissue from the pigmented skin and will transfer them to a solution before transplanting them in the affected area. The results usually start showing up within four weeks from the procedure. These procedures may involve small risks of infection, scarring, spotty colour and failure to re-pigment the areas.

At Dr. Paul’s Skin Laser Centre, Vitiligo treatment is performed under the supervision of certified MD Dermatologists after an open discussion about the procedure, results, and possible effects of the treatment. Call today at 9803 029 029 to know more! 

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