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Repigmentation of Poliosis After Epithelial Grafting for Vitiligo

Authors


  • The author has indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Sherif S. Awad, MD, PhD, 8, AbdelMenam Garby Sq., Minia, Egypt, or e-mail: sherifu@rocketmail.com

Abstract

Background

Vitiligo is a disease of color loss from skin and possibly also from hair. The presence of white hair follicles is known to be a bad prognostic sign.

Objectives

To evaluate the possibility of repigmentation of white hair follicles after epithelial grafting.

Methods

Patients with recalcitrant vitiligo with loss of hair pigment were treated using Chinese cupping blisters or ultrathin Thiersch grafting after de-epithelialization of vitiliginous patches by dermabrasion. Phototherapy was used afterward to enhance success.

Results

Repigmentation of the skin surface was obtained with as little as 1 to 2 months of phototherapy, as expected, and further follow-up of cases revealed the re-coloring of hair follicles after 4 to 11 months.

Conclusion

Re-coloring of poliosis with vitiligo is possible but was unexpected because of the difference in mechanism and signaling required between hair bulb melanization and the surface skin. One likely mechanism to explain this change is that melanocyte stem cells are stimulated and migrate to supply hair bulbs with new mature melanocytes. Epithelial grafting of vitiligo with poliosis in hairy areas should be a treatment of choice when white hair tufts cause cosmetic disfigurement.

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