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Grafting Epidermal Sheets

The chronic skin condition of Vitiligo (Leucoderma) causes skin depigmentation. Because of this disease, milky white or light pink patches of skin appear on the body area where Vitiligo has affected. This happens due to the fact that in this chronic skin disease, a person who has Vitiligo, his/her bodyís white blood cells attack the skinís pigment cells called melanocytes due to a genetic mutation. Vitiligo does not affect the patientís overall health, but can be quite difficult to deal with psychologically. Despite the popular myth that the treatment of Vitiligo is Ďimpossibleí, there are many treatments available for this skin disorder. One of the most recent ones is the Grafting Epidermal Sheets.

Just like various medicinal treatments, many surgical techniques are also rapidly evolving for management of Vitiligo through skin / melanocytes transplantation. The latest such technique, Grafting Epidermal Sheets, has been studied in a research published in J W Dermatology. It would be worthwhile to mention that suction blister epidermal grafts, punch grafts, and autologous grafts of cultured keratinocyte and melanocyte have been used in the past with variable degrees of success.

The researchers took 0.1 mm epidermal sheet grafts from the buttocks with a Zimmer air dermatome and secured these grafts to the superficial dermabraded skin with depigmentation. 19 people with Vitiligo and one with piebaldism was grafted in this fashion. The sheets of epidermis were secured to the host area with silicone netting and then covered for one week with gauze soaked in saline. The patients were later encouraged to expose this grafted area to sunlight. 64% of the sites so grafted attained 5-100% repigmentation in 4-8 months. 18 % attained 50-70% repigmentation while another 18% had less than 20% success. It was further noted that people with stable lesions had more complete repigmentation.

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