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Efficacy of 1-mm minigrafts in treating vitiligo depends on patient age, disease site and vitiligo subtype


Hiroshi Kato, M.D., Department of Geriatric and Environmental Dermatology, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, 1 Kawasumi, Mizuho-cho, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya 467-8601, Japan. Email:


Vitiligo vulgaris is a refractory skin disease. Treatment modalities include topical steroids, phototherapy, suction blister roof grafts and cellular grafting techniques. Adverse effects may occur, however, and some cases remain unresponsive to treatment. To evaluate the efficacy of small (1-mm) punch minigraft therapy in relation to patient age, disease site, disease duration and vitiligo subtype. We used a recently developed disposable 1.0-mm punch apparatus to perform minigraft therapy in 20 patients with either generalized (n = 4), segmental (n = 9) or limited (n = 7) vitiligo, and evaluated the area and rate of repigmentation in relation to patient age, disease site, disease duration and vitiligo subtype. The area of repigmentation was significantly greater in patients with segmental vitiligo (n = 9) than in those with generalized vitiligo (n = 4). Repigmentation covered a broader area and occurred more quickly in patients under 15 years of age than in those over 20 years of age (n = 9). Disease duration did not affect the repigmentation rate. The results of the present study suggest that 1-mm minigrafts are effective for treating patients with vitiligo. Better results occurred in patients under 15 years of age, patients with facial grafts, and patients with segmental and limited subtypes.

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