Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital have shown that skin transplant surgery is safe and effective for treating vitiligo.
In their study, Henry Ford researchers followed 23 patients for up to six months after surgery and found that the treated area regained on average 52 percent of its natural skin color. In eight patients with a specific type of vitiligo, the treated area regained on average 74 percent of its natural skin color.
The surgery involves using skin cells taken from normally-pigmented areas of the body and transferring them to the damaged area of skin. It is performed under local anesthesia.
"This surgery offers hope to vitiligo patients," says Iltefat Hamzavi, M.D. a senior staff physician in Henry Ford's Department of Dermatology and the study's senior author and principal investigator. "The results achieved in our study were of obvious significance to our patients."
The study has been presented at the 68th annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting in Miami.
While the initial results are preliminary and the procedure is still investigational, Dr. Hamzavi says Henry Ford hopes to offer the surgery as part of its treatment portfolio this fall. He says or some patients the surgery is more effective than standard treatments like light therapy and topical medications.