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Characterization of Clinical Response in Patients with Vitiligo Undergoing Autologous Epidermal Punch Grafting


  • The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Amit G. Pandya, MD, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390, or e-mail:



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


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.


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.


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.