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Background

Punch grafting is a well-established treatment for vitiligo, but predictive factors for outcomes are not well established.

Objective

To determine the characteristics of responses to punch grafting performed in patients with vitiligo.

Methods and Materials

Retrospective, single-center chart review. Response rates were assessed using photographs taken before and after grafting using a 1.5-mm punch instrument. Effectiveness of repigmentation was assessed using the following scale: worse, no improvement, 0% to 25% improvement, 25% to 50% improvement, 50% to 75% improvement, and 75% to 100% improvement. Repigmentation rates were correlated with patient demographics.

Results

Thirty-seven charts were reviewed, from which data were available from 30 patients. The total number grafts was 606 in 44 transplanted areas; 87% (530/606) of the transplants survived, and 26 of the 30 (87%) patients achieved some degree of repigmentation. Patients younger than 20 achieved the greatest average improvement in repigmentation (mean 61%), whereas those aged 60 and older showed the least improvement (mean 38%). Punch grafting of the neck and trunk achieved the greatest repigmentation, with 65% and 63% average improvement, respectively. Acral sites and skin overlying joints improved the least.

Conclusion

Punch grafting is successful in most patients with vitiligo, with an 87% graft survival rate, but the rates of repigmentation vary depending on clinical characteristics.