Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder that affects the skin, causing it to gradually discolour. This discolouration can spread over the entire body, whitening the skin unnaturally. The root cause of vitiligo is not known, but it is found that parents having a hereditary strain of diabetes, thyroid or vitiligo itself are more prone to pass this disease on to their children.
Drastic alterations in the complexion can be traumatising for the patients, and hence the need for treatment is felt so urgently by them and their families. The spread of discolouration can either be checked or slowed down by treatment. Though for a patient whose condition has remained stable for about two years, artificial re-pigmentation can be considered as well.
The most common vitiligo treatment, PUVA, consists of the patient taking an oral psoralen compound, and two hours later the de-pigmented patch is exposed to UV rays or sunlight for a short period. This particular cure has shown remarkable results in about 60% of vitiligo cases -pay a visit to vitiligo treatments or mole removal surgery for additional information pertaining to this subject matter.
The last decade has also seen significant improvements in surgical vitiligo treatment. Miniature punch grafting is typically an integral part of surgical remedies for vitiligo. Multiple thin grafts of 2 mm diameter are taken from the donor by special punches and transferred on to the diseased area of the recipient through grafting. Once these take hold, PUVA treatment can be done to promote the reformation of melanocytes, which produce the colour in our skin.
Suction blister grafting and ultra thin skin grafting, where a very thin layer of skin is grafted on to cause the transfer of melanocytes, are other grafting techniques that are used to treat vitiligo. Both these treatments have
shown satisfying results on patients so far.
Some other treatments can also be availed, offered by both mainstream medicine and therapies outside the scope of conventional medical practice, with success rates greatly differing in each treatment. Moreover, with recent advancements in medical science and growing interest in stem cell research, a complete cure for vitiligo may be just round the corner.