UV-B radiation microphototherapy. An elective treatment for segmental vitiligo

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 1999 Sep;13(2):102-8.


Background: Vitiligo is a common disease of unknown cause that produces disfiguring white patches of depigmentation. Previous studies have suggested the effectiveness of UV-B radiation in generalized vitiligo (GV) therapy, but there was no evidence to support the same role for segmental vitiligo (SV).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to use UV-B radiation exclusively on vitiligo patches of individuals affected by SV to evaluate the effectiveness of this therapy.

Subjects and methods: Eight individuals with SV were treated for 6 months with a new device called BIOSKIN that can produce a focused beam of UV-B (microphoto-therapy) on vitiligo patches only. Photographs of the subjects were taken at the beginning of the therapy and once a month thereafter for 6 months. The response to treatment was estimated in two comparable photographs using planimetry. A control group of eight individuals matched for sex and age was treated with placebo, using the same device but not releasing any kind of detectable light.

Results: After 6 months of microphototherapy five subjects of the eight studied achieved normal pigmentation on more than 75% of the treated areas. In particular, three of these were totally repigmented. Two individuals achieved 50-75% pigmentation of the treated areas, and only one showed less than 50% repigmentation. In the control group only one patient showed moderate repigmentation (less than 50%).

Conclusion: UV-B microphototherapy seems highly effective in restoring pigmentation in patients affected by vitiligo. As no side-effects have been observed, this could represent the treatment of choice in the limited (segmental) forms of vitiligo.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ultraviolet Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Ultraviolet Therapy* / methods
  • Vitiligo / radiotherapy*