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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2012 Jun;26(6):690-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.04147.x. Epub 2011 Jun 29.

A randomized comparison of excimer laser versus narrow-band ultraviolet B phototherapy after punch grafting in stable vitiligo patients.

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Netherlands Institute for Pigment Disorders, Department of Dermatology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Background  Ultraviolet radiation following punch grafting may stimulate the migration of melanocytes from the grafts into the vitiliginous skin, thereby increasing the rate of repigmentation. We compared the effects of the 308-nm xenon chloride excimer laser (EL) vs. narrow-band ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) after punch grafting in patients with vitiligo. Objectives  The aims of this study were to evaluate (i) repigmentation (%); (ii) treatment satisfaction; and (iii) patient preferences for EL vs. NB-UVB therapy after punch grafting in vitiligo. Methods  Fourteen patients were treated with the punch-grafting technique on two symmetrical vitiligo patches. Starting 1 week after the punch grafting, the vitiligo patches were treated twice a week during 3 months, with EL on one side and with NB-UVB on the other side. Repigmentation (%) was measured by a digital image analysis system. Patients' satisfaction and preference for treatment were also assessed. Results  Whereas both treatment modalities induced repigmentation, no statistically significant difference was found in grade of repigmentation after 3 months. With EL, 71.4% lower cumulative dose was reached. Patients were significantly more satisfied with NB-UVB and preferred it over EL. Conclusions  The choice between EL and NB-UVB cannot solely be based on repigmentation, but rather on other factors, such as patients' preferences. However, given the lower UV dose of EL, we recommend its use in vulnerable populations, such as in small children and patients with sun-damaged skin with a history of long-term UVB treatment.

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