Vitiligo or Leucoderma or White Patches is a common condition where white patches develop on the skin due to loss of pigment from affected areas of the skin. There are usually no other symptoms. In some cases, the pigment can be restored with medical treatment & phototherapy without surgery. Also, the affected area can be covered by skin camouflage creams& colors.
If the vitiligo is noticeable by other people, embarrassment can lead to self-esteem problems, and in some cases depression. Thus it is considered as a social stigma. These girls & boys with white skin patches, especially demand correction if they are in the marriage age group. Some elderly parents also want vitiligo correction to avoid rejection of their son or daughter for marriage, as vitiligo is known to run in some families.

Causes of Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a condition where pale white patches develop on the skin due to a lack of pigment (color) in the affected areas of the skin.
Areas of skin with patches of vitiligo have no or very few melanocytes. Therefore melanin cannot be made, and the color of the skin is lost. It is not known why the melanocytes go from affected areas of the skin. They may be destroyed by the immune system or ‘self-destruct’ for reasons not yet known. There is some genetic factor involved and vitiligo may ‘run in the family’.

An autoimmune disorder – the patient’s immune system becomes overactive and destroys the melanocytes
Genetic oxidative stress imbalance.
A stressful event.
Harm to the skin due to a critical sunburn or cut.
Exposure to certain chemicals.
A neural cause.
A viral cause.
Vitiligo is not transmittable.

Who gets vitiligo?

Less than 1% of people develop vitiligo. Men and women are equally affected. It can develop at any age. However, it begins before the age of 20 in about half of cases. Vitiligo is not infectious.

The most common sites involved are the face, neck, and scalp. Other common sites include the backs of hands, front of knees, and elbows. In the areas of the scalp that are affected, the hair too is affected.

Plastic Surgery Treatment for Vitiligo:

Surgery is very much helpful in stable vitiligo patches. Especially in marriage age group patients, if there is very slow or no response to medical treatment, then plastic surgery is a better and quicker option. Surgery is contraindicated in children & inactive unstable vitiligo patches. The outcome varies with the body areas involved such as lips, genitals, eyelids, bony prominences, etc.

Autologous skin grafts
Skin grafts using blisters
Micro-pigmentation (tattooing)
Autologous melanocyte transplants

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