Repigmentation of vitiligo with punch grafting and narrow-band UV-B (311 nm) – a prospective study


Koushik Lahiri, MBBS, DVD, DNBI, FAAD Pigmentary Disorder Unit Rita Skin Foundation GD-381, Sector III Salt Lake Calcutta – 700 106 India E-mail:


Background  Phototherapy is already established as an effective mode of therapy in vitiligo. An evidence-based study was carried out of the effect of narrow-band (311 nm) ultraviolet-B (NB-UV-B) radiation in 66 surgically treated patients with recalcitrant vitiligo in whom autologous mini-punch grafting was deployed.

Methods  A total of 2613 grafts were placed over 108 lesions on 17 regions in 66 individuals (39 females and 27 males) with stable, refractory vitiligo. The age range was 21–48 years. Postsurgically, they were exposed to a suberythemal dose of NB-UV-B (311 nm). Different parameters of surgical repigmentation were documented.

Results  Successful repigmentation was achieved in 57 (86.36%) cases. The appearance of repigmentation (AOR) time in different regions varied between 14 and 32 days, with an overall average of approximately 20.6 days. Maximum pigment spread (MPS) reached 12 mm with an average of 6.5 mm. The relationship between the donor graft area and area of surgical repigmentation was also calculated. Cobblestoning was the most common (31.8%) complication, but improved with time and/or interference.

Conclusions  Punch grafting in combination with phototherapy (NB-UV-B, 311 nm) was found to be an easy, safe, inexpensive, and effective method of repigmenting static and stubborn vitiligo. Different facets of punch grafting-induced and phototherapy-aided surgical repigmentation were taken into consideration. The area of repigmentation, MPS, and relationship between the donor graft area and area of surgical repigmentation were documented.