Focal vitiligo: long-term follow-up of 52 cases

J. E. Lommerts, Y. Schilder, M. A. de Rie, A. Wolkerstorfer, M. W. Bekkenk

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Focal vitiligo is characterized by depigmented patches located in a small area without a typical segmental distribution. Focal vitiligo is classified as an undetermined type of vitiligo, and a more definitive diagnosis can be made when the lesions have not evolved into non-segmental or segmental vitiligo after a period of 1-2 years. However, the chance of progression is not known and may lead to treatment-indecision. The objective was to study the characteristics of patients with focal vitiligo and possible predictors of progression. We conducted a survey study in patients with initial diagnosis of focal vitiligo between January 2005 and June 2010. Focal vitiligo was defined as either a small acquired isolated depigmented lesion without typical segmental distribution, or two to three small acquired lesions localized in a non-segmental area with a maximum of 5 cm. The survey comprised of 21 questions concerning the patient's characteristics, the onset of focal vitiligo, progression of depigmentation and treatment history. We identified 128 eligible patients and the response rate was 40.6% (n = 52 completed questionnaires). Progression to non-segmental vitiligo occurred in 23%. The median follow-up duration was 7 years. In 11.5% of the patients, progression to non-segmental vitiligo occurred within 2 years after onset. Nevertheless, even after a first stable period of more than 2 years, another 11.5% of the patients advanced to non-segmental vitiligo. No associated prognostic factors at baseline of progression to non-segmental or long-lasting focal vitiligo were found. Focal vitiligo is a rare subtype of vitiligo and most patients have long-lasting focal lesions after onset of the disease. In this study, focal vitiligo progressed to typical non-segmental vitiligo, but not towards typical segmental vitiligo. Progression 2 years after onset of focal vitiligo, occurs in 50% of the patients with eventual progression to non-segmental vitiligo. There seem to be no clinical signs that predict progression in focal vitiligo
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1550-1554
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016

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