Laser-assisted depigmentation for resistant vitiligo: a retrospective case series with long-term follow-up

Boukari F, Lacour JP, Ortonne JP, Bahadoran P, Passeron T

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2014 Mar;28(3):374-7


PMID: 23167541

BACKGROUND: Blanching creams are used to depigment and to achieve uniform skin tone in widespread vitiligo. Length of the treatment and side-effects strongly limit their use in common practice.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the long-term efficacy and tolerance of Q-Switched (QS) lasers for depigmenting the remaining unaffected skin in vitiligo.

METHODS: Retrospective study of vitiligo patients treated with QS lasers in the Department of Dermatology of the University Hospital of Nice, France, from 2002 to 2011. Localizations and the percentage of body surface area of treated lesions, the total number of sessions and the possible relapses and side-effects, were analysed. Global satisfaction of the patients was evaluated on a visual analogical scale.

RESULTS: Sixteen areas of normally pigmented skin were treated in six patients. The median number of sessions to achieve a complete depigmentation was 2 (1-6). The mean duration of follow-up was 36 months (19-120). One third of the patients had no relapse. A complete repigmentation was observed after 21 months in one patient; a 50% repigmentation was noted in one patient, 7 months after the end of the treatment. Two patients showed a minimal repigmentation (<25%), 18 months and 9 years after the first laser treatments. The repigmentations were effectively treated with a maintenance session. The mean total number of sessions performed during this period was 3 (1-20). Side-effects were limited to transient purpura and crusts. The satisfaction of the patients was excellent (mean 9/10). conclusions: QS lasers appear as an efficient and safe modality for depigmenting normal skin in vitiligo.