The efficacy of excimer laser (308 nm) for vitiligo at different body sites

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Abstract

Background

The treatment with XeCl-excimer laser generated 308-nm UVB radiation has shown promising results in patients with vitiligo.

Objective

In this controlled, prospective trial we studied the primary efficacy (start and grade of repigmentation) and patient's satisfaction of XeCl-excimer laser for treatment of vitiligo patches at different body sites and re-evaluated the achieved repigmentation 12 months after the end of therapy.

Methods

Twenty-five patients with generalized or localized vitiligo with a total of 85 lesions at different body sites were enrolled in this study. Vitiligo patches were treated with 308-nm XeCl-excimer laser 3 times a week for 6 to 10 weeks. The overall repigmentation grade of each treated lesion was evaluated once a week on a 5 point scale rating from 0 (no repigmentation), 1 (1–5%), 2 (6–25%), 3 (26–50%), 4 (51–75%), to 5 (76–100%).

Results

Twenty-four patients completed the study. Within 6 to 10 weeks of treatment 67% of the patients (16/24) developed follicular repigmentation of at least one of their vitiligo lesions. Lesion repigmentation started after a mean of 13 treatments in lesions located on the face, trunk, arm, and/or leg (high-responder location), and after a mean of 22 treatments in lesions located on the elbow, wrist, dorsum of the hand, knee, and/or dorsum of the foot (low-responder location). Untreated control lesions and lesions located on the fingers did not achieve any repigmentation. After 10 weeks of treatment repigmentation of more than 75% was found in 25% (7/28) of lesions of the high-responder location group versus 2% (1/43) of lesions of the low-responder location group. In most cases, laser-induced repigmentation was persistent, as determined 12 months after the end of treatment.

Conclusions

308-nm excimer laser is an effective modality for the treatment of vitiligo. However, similar to other non-surgical treatment modalities, the therapeutic effect is mainly dependent on the location of vitiligo lesions.

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