Excimer Laser Vitiligo


Vitiligo is a disease in which the pigment cells of the skin, melanocytes, are destroyed in certain areas. Symptoms and signs of vitiligo include loss of skin color in the form of depigmented, or white, patches of skin in any location on the body.Vitiligo can be focal and localized to one area, or it may affect several different areas on the body.The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, although most experts believe that it is an autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys certain cells within the body. Vitiligo is sometimes associated with other medical conditions, including thyroid dysfunction.

What is the Excimer Laser?

The excimer laser uses a focused beam of light at a wavelength of 308 nm.  This targeted wavelength has been shown to be particularly effective in treating psoriatic plaques and vitiligo. The ray of light is delivered via a hand held wand that focuses on the lesion rather than treating your entire body like narrowband UVB phototherapy.  The advantages include faster clearance of lesions because a higher dose can be delivered to the specific areas that need it without affecting healthy skin. It can also be used to treat areas that are difficult to treat in a phototherapy unit such as behind the ears and the genitals.

What does the treatment involve?

Patients attend treatments 1-3 times weekly.  The amount of UV delivered is calculated carefully and monitored based on the patient’s skin type, age, skin condition, site of treatment, and prior response to treatment. 

How many treatments will I need?

 The duration of treatment varies depending on the skin condition being treated and the extent of the condition.  Usually some response is noted in 6-8 treatments.  Often, a complete response occurs in 20-30 treatments.  

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