Simplified cellular grafting for treatment of vitiligo and piebaldism: the "6-well plate" technique

Dermatol Surg. 2010 Feb;36(2):203-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2009.01423.x. Epub 2009 Dec 21.


Background: Vitiligo is a disfiguring depigmenting dermatosis that affects approximately 0.5% to 1% of the general population regardless of race and sex. In patients with stable vitiligo who fail conventional therapies, surgical transplant offers a viable alternative. Noncultured cellular grafting offers the advantage of repigmenting vitiligo 5 to 10 times the size of the donor skin and can be completed on the same day on an outpatient basis. In recent years, ways to simplify this procedure have been explored, including the use of commercially available kits.

Objectives: To simplify the extraction of epidermal cells from donor skin using a 6-well plate and to evaluate the clinical efficacy of this simplified technique in repigmenting stable vitiligo and piebaldism.

Methods: Four patients with focal or segmental vitiligo and one with piebaldism were treated using the simplified noncultured cellular grafting protocol. Percentage of repigmentation 6 months after grafting was objectively measured using digital contour mapping.

Results: Patients with stable segmental or focal vitiligo achieved 65% to 92% repigmentation 6 months after grafting; the treated sites involved face or limbs. The patient with piebaldism achieved 86% repigmentation. One year after grafting, the extent of repigmentation remained for all patients.

Conclusion: This set-up is simple and inexpensive; it reduces cell preparation time, amount of reagents used, and costs, and obviates the need of a laboratory for extraction of epidermal cells.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Piebaldism / surgery*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods
  • Skin Transplantation / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitiligo / surgery*