Treatment of 'stable' vitiligo by Timedsurgery transplantation of cultured epidermal autografts

Liliana Guerra, Sergio Capurro, Francesco Melchi, Grazia Primavera, Sergio Bondanza, Ranieri Cancedda, Antonio Luci, Michele De Luca, Graziella Pellegrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To optimize melanocyte/keratinocyte cocultivation and to evaluate the effectiveness of autologous cultured epidermal grafts in the surgical treatment of stable vitiligo. Design: After optimization of melanocyte/keratinocyte cultures, achromic lesions were disepithelialized by means of programmed diathermosurgery (Timedsurgery) and covered with autologous epidermal grafts prepared from secondary cultures. Melanocyte content was evaluated by dopa reaction. The percentage of repigmentation was calculated using a semiautomatic image analysis system. Setting: A biosafety level 3 cell culture facility and a dermatological department in a hospital. Patients: Thirty-two patients carrying different types of vitiligo were admitted to the study and treated with autologous cultured epidermal grafts. Inclusion criteria were (1) failure of at least 2 standard medical approaches; (2) no therapy for at least 12 months; (3) absence of progression of old lesions, absence of appearance of new lesions, and absence of Koebner within the past 18 months; and (4) absence of autoimmune disorders. Results: One hundred five achromic lesions (a total of 6078.2 cm2) were treated. The average percentage of repigmentation, evaluated after 12 to 36 months of follow-up, was 77%. Independent of the type of vitiligo, average percentages of repigmentation of extremities and periorificial sites were 8% (31.8 cm2 repigmented/420.5 cm2 transplanted) and 35% (17.6 cm2 repigmented/50.0 cm2 transplanted), respectively. Percentages of repigmentation of all other body sites ranged from 88% to 96% (4329.7 cm2 repigmented/4675.2 cm2 transplanted). Color matching was good and scar formation was not observed. Conclusion: Cultured epidermal grafts can be considered a real therapeutic surgical alternative for 'stable' but not lip-tip vitiligo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1380-1389
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Dermatology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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