Vitiligo is caused by the loss of melanocytes, the skin cells which produce the skin colour melanin. As well as melanocytes, the skin is primarily made up of keratinocytes and a few other cells such as langerhans cells and fibroblasts.
Although it is not known why Vitiligo naturally occurs, it is acknowledged that melanocyte loss may also occur after certain laser treatments of the skin, congenital causes such as piebaldism, halo nevi, or on certain types of scars (e.g. scar dischromia after a burn injury).
The Melanocyte Keratinocyte Transfer (MKT) technique used at Wimpole Aesthetics is suitable for the treatment of stable vitiligo or other forms of leucoderma (lack of pigmentation). Using a special enzyme in sterile conditions, the cells from a small area of healthy skin can be separated and then placed in a suspension which is applied to the area of skin that is being affected by the vitiligo. What better way to treat an area of hypopigmentation than to transfer melanocytes from another area of the body to the
MKT vitiligo treatment can be used on any area of the body including the face, eyelids, hands, fingers, genitals and feet. Although a safe procedure, it is worth noting that patients with certain health issues may need special precautions throughout treatment. All aspects of the procedure and your health can be discussed during your initial private consultation with Dr Mulekar.
More about MKT
Melanocyte Keratinocyte Transfer
How the treatment is performed:
The procedure is performed under sterile conditions in a procedure room using aseptic technique. Under local anaesthetic, a small, very thin area of healthy skin is removed, usually from the hip area. The skin biopsy is about 200 microns thick and about 2cm x 3cm in area, depending on the size of the recipient site.
Using a well researched and developed technique, the skin is processed to produce a pre-confluent mix of epidermal cells. The area to be treated is gently abraded, once again under local anaesthestic, and the skin cell mixture is applied. These cells immediately attach themselves to the prepared recipient site and the healing and repigmentation process begins. There is no danger of scarring during this process and the cells can do no harm as they are autologous (i.e. the patient’s own cells). On average, the procedure takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
After the procedure, the treated site is protected by a dressing for one week. You will be given verbal and written post procedure instructions before leaving the Wimpole Aesthetics. Dependant on the site that was treated, no further dressing is required and you will simply need to follow the instructions you were given by the clinic.
Usually there is no bruising or swelling. Some patients may feel minor discomfort at the biopsy and treated site for a few days, but this can be remedied using a mild painkiller if necessary. Recovery is remarkably quick!
What can be expected:
The vitiligo treatment is very safe and usually 100% effective. Patients start to see repigmentation in about 2 to 4 months, with full benefit in up to 6 months. This is because the transplanted melanocytes need to proliferate and begin producing melanin. Most patients get the result they seek with a single treatment but for some patients with larger areas it may be necessary to have more than one treatment session. This aspect of care will be discussed at the initial consultation.
Caucasian skin benefits from light exposure post treatment. This is to encourage the transplanted melanocytes to produce melanin. This is done by exposing the treated area to mild daylight – for example, overcast daylight through a window for 30 minutes a day is fine.
Please visit out Frequently Asked Questions section for further information.
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