Important Information about Skin Grafts and Your Vitiligo to Discuss with Your Cosmetic Surgeon

If you suffer from vitiligo, you are not alone. Recent estimates are that at least two out of every 100 people in the United States experience the embarrassing problem of lost pigmentation in their skin, and unfortunately, there is no cure. However, there are procedures that an experienced cosmetic surgeon can provide to restore normal skin coloring to the affected areas.

Grafting Existing, Healthy Skin to Discolored Areas

Skin grafts use your healthy skin to graft to the areas of depigmentation. Specifically, the skin is removed from predetermined areas and then attached over the damaged areas. That addresses some or all of the obvious symptoms of vitiligo, but it can reoccur on other parts of the body since vitiligo is a chronic illness.

Although using your own skin can make it challenging to cover larger areas of discoloration, it is possible to do so. It is important to note that it is not unusual to use one treatment option, such as skin grafts, on one part of your body and then use another procedure on other areas. That may be necessary due to the extent of the symptoms, the location of the discolored skin patches, and the success of previous cosmetic procedures. In addition, as with any procedure, there is the possibility of scarring, and therefore some cosmetic surgeons prefer to avoid or limit skin grafts from existing skin.

Using Blister Grafts for Vitiligo

The use of blister grafts to treat Vitiligo is relatively new and less scarring has been reported. As opposed to a typical graft that removes some of your existing skin, blister grafts create blisters on an area of the healthy skin. After the blisters have time to form, their tops are removed and attached to the discolored skin.

After the skin is covered to encourage healing, light therapy on the outward edges of the new pigment is frequently used. The goal is that the transplanted skin will soon begin to produce new pigment.

Determining Which Patients Can Benefit from Grafts

It is helpful to note that not every patient will benefit from skin grafts, so your cosmetic surgeon is likely to have guidelines when determining treatment options. For instance, your vitiligo usually must be stable for at least six months, and many physicians require at least a year with no flare-ups or new areas. In addition, you must be at least 18 years of age and in good health otherwise. 

In conclusion, vitiligo is a problem for many people, and although treatment options are available, there is no cure. If you are tired of wearing heavy makeup and constantly covering up the discolored areas of your skin, it is time to speak with a cosmetic surgeon to improve your appearance. Speak with a representative from an establishment like John Gatti MD today.