Background: As nonsurgical interventions for vitiligo are not always successful, various surgical modalities have been used in patients with refractory vitiligo. Of these, noncultured melanocyte-keratinocyte transplantation (MKTP) was recently introduced to treat large vitiligo lesions from small donor tissue.
Objectives: To assess the effectiveness and safety of MKTP as a surgical treatment for patients with refractory vitiligo.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 41 cases in 31 patients (23 females; median age 25 years) who underwent MKTP from July 2015 to October 2019. Suction blisters were collected from the patient’s inner thigh at a donor-to-recipient area ratio of 1:5. After the addition of recombinant trypsin, epidermal cells were manually scraped off the blister surface, and epidermal cell suspension was obtained. The suspension was applied to the vitiligo lesions after epidermal ablation of recipient sites. Phototherapy resumed 1 month later. Treatment success was defined as 75% repigmentation of the surgical site, and all adverse events were noted.
Results: Overall, 78.0% of cases (32/41) exhibited treatment success. Adverse events included hyperpigmentation, hypertrophic scar and surgical site infection but the treatment was tolerable in all cases.
Conclusion: MKTP is a reliable surgical option for patients with vitiligo refractory to nonsurgical treatment. Large area of vitiligo can be treated by MKTP, and use of this technique should be encouraged in Korea.