Vitilgo is an auto-immune disease where pigment cells in the skin are destroyed. This results in flat, chalk white patches on the skin. This condition is seen in 1% of the population and all races and skin types are affected. Vitiligo can have a devastating psychological impact on those afflicted leading to loss in self esteem and reduced quality of life. There are many traditional treatments such as topical ointments, ultraviolet light and targeted laser therapy. When these traditional treatments are ineffective or slow to show improvement, many of our patients opt for a pigment tissue transplant or even a pigment cell transfer.
The later procedure is known as melanocyte-keratinocyte transplantation or MKT for short. Normal pigment cells are taken from healthy pigmented skin and transplanted into white areas of vitiligo. This transplant surgery has long-term benefit. It potentially permanently restores pigmentation to the skin.
For MKT to work, a patients vitiligo must be stable and not spreading. MKTP is an in-office procedure. A fractionated laser is now used for removing the white vitiligo lesions and prepping it to receive the healthy melanocyte cells.
Ultraviolet or UVB Xtract Ecimer laser treatments are often performed after transplant to speed pigment growth and re-pigmentation in the white vitiligo areas. All areas of vitiligo are amenable to MKT and we have performed this amazing process on the legs, feet, hands, neck, arms and torso, All types of vitiligo respond including vitiligo limited to one area of the body known as segmental vitiligo.