New Delhi: Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition where pale patches occur on the skin. The exact cause of Vitiligo is still undetermined, though much research has been done. Many people still have some misconceptions about Vitiligo. However, when CitySpidey spoke to a skin doctor and a plastic surgeon, they cleared some of the basic misconceptions that people still have when they see a person suffering from Vitiligo.
Dr Gulhima Arora, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Mehektagul Dermaclinic, New Delhi said, "Vitiligo is not contagious. It doesn't increase if you consume white-coloured foods and drinks. It is an auto-immune disorder of pigmentation where the body's immunity acts against its own pigment cells. However, the exact cause is still unknown, many theories have been put forth, it can be genetic, neural, biochemical, antioxidant deficiency, infection, stress, and many more."
She continued, "It can affect any race, it is a painless cosmetic disfigurement that carries a high psychological burden. It can be associated with other autoimmune conditions like diabetes, pernicious anaemia, thyroid abnormalities, or alopecia areata."
Dr (Col) Vijay Langer, an ex-professor, a plastic surgeon based in Delhi said, "There is no cure for vitiligo but for light, discoloured patches which show so prominently in our population, surgical correction can be effectively done when the disease is stable, meaning that there are no fresh spots appearing on the skin. This can be done by melanocyte transplantation or transfer. In this process, the superficial skin layer over the light spot is painlessly abraded or rubbed off and these areas sprayed with cultured skin pigment cells derived from thin skin taken from less visible areas of the body such as the back of the thigh or the buttock. This procedure can be quite comfortably done under local anaesthesia.
He also added " No extra care needs be taken after surgery except for immobilisation of the affected area for 3-5 days. If operated over the feet, the patient is allowed limited movement to the bathroom and back for this period. Almost all patients with such patches are depressed and anxious, and do very well with surgical correction.”