The Use of the 308-nm Excimer Laser for the Treatment of Vitiligo

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Recent reports show that 308-nm excimer laser may be an effective and safe method for the treatment of vitiligo, which is usually resistant to other available treatment methods.

OBJECTIVE

The objective was to study the effectiveness of the new 308-nm excimer laser for the treatment of vitiligo.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review of thirty-two patients with 55 spots of vitiligo were enrolled; a population-based sample was studied that included men and women, adults and children, with different ethnic backgrounds. The treatment was started with the lowest dose, which is 100 mJ/cm2 (comparable to one minimal erythema dose value and one multiplier). Depending on Fitzpatrick skin type, the dose was raised gradually in a stepwise fashion. In skin types I to II, the same does was repeated twice before going up to avoid burns. Patients were treated for 30 sessions, or 75% repigmentation, whichever comes first.

RESULTS

Overall 55 spots were treated: 29 (52.8%) had 75% pigmentation or greater, and 35 (63.7%) had 50% pigmentation or greater. The best results were on the face: of the 21 spots treated 15 (71.5%) had 75% pigmentation, and 16 (76.2%) had 50% pigmentation or greater. Other areas (neck, extremities, trunk, and genitals) had moderate response in comparison to the face. The least response was on the hands and feet; of the 5 spots treated only 20% showed 50% pigmentation or more.

CONCLUSION

Slightly more than 50% of the patients tested showed 75% or more pigmentation of their lesions, after 30 treatments or less; most of the responders had Fitzpatrick skin type III and above. All the untreated patches (controls) remained unchanged. This demonstrates that the 308-nm excimer laser is an effective method of treatment for vitiligo.

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