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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Feb;27(2):e235-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2012.04568.x. Epub 2012 May 23.

Digital image analysis vs. clinical assessment to evaluate repigmentation after punch grafting in vitiligo.

Author information

1
Netherlands Institute for Pigment Disorders, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. m.w.linthorsthoman@amc.uva.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Repigmentation as a treatment outcome in vitiligo is not assessed in a standard way, making results of clinical trials hard to compare. Different types of repigmentation assessments after punch grafting have not been compared so far.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare assessments of repigmentation by a digital image analysis system (DIAS) with those of clinical observers and patients after punch grafting for vitiligo.

METHODS:

One vitiligo patch was selected in each patient (n = 21). This patch was treated with the punch grafting technique. The grade of repigmentation (%) after 3 months was assessed by: (i) DIAS; (ii) 3 clinical observers ; and (iii) the patient, scoring the grade of repigmentation on photographs. Physicians and patients also evaluated the global result on a 7-point scale.

RESULTS:

There was an almost perfect agreement between the three clinical observers and the DIAS (ICC 0.83). As expected, variation was found between the clinical observers. Patients' scores showed a moderate agreement with the DIAS (ICC 0.49) and a poor agreement with the physicians (ICC 0.28). Overall, the patients were more satisfied with the results than the physicians.

CONCLUSIONS:

Whereas the results of the digital and clinical assessments were comparable, patients' ratings diverged. The DIAS can overcome the inevitable differences between observers, which are intrinsic to a visual grading method, and is advisable for clinical trials on vitiligo to objectively assess repigmentation in limited lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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