Surgical Treatments

Surgical Treatments

Autologous skin grafts.

This type of skin grafting uses your own tissues (autologous). Your doctor removes tiny pieces of skin from one area of your body and attaches them to another. This procedure is sometimes used if you have small patches of vitiligo. Your doctor removes sections of your normal, pigmented skin (donor sites) and places them on the depigmented areas (recipient sites). Possible complications of this procedure include infection at the donor or recipient site. The recipient and donor sites may develop scarring, a cobblestone appearance, spotty pigmentation, or may fail to repigment at all.

Blister grafting.

In this procedure, your doctor creates blisters on your pigmented skin primarily by using suction. The tops of the blisters are then cut out and transplanted to a depigmented skin area where a blister of equal size has been created and removed. The risks of blister grafting include the development of a cobblestone appearance, scarring and lack of repigmentation. However, there’s less risk of scarring with this procedure than with other types of skin grafting.

Experimental Therapies

In a procedure called an autologous melanocyte transplant, your doctor takes a sample of your normal pigmented skin and places it in a laboratory dish containing a special cell culture solution to grow melanocytes. When the melanocytes in the culture solution have multiplied, they’re transplanted to your depigmented skin patches. This procedure is experimental and performed only in a few institutions where vitiligo research is conducted.