J.C. Albert, a resident of Tondiarpet, recently got a makeover at Government Stanley Hospital.

It was more of a skin graft, though, to tackle the vitiligo spots that had been bothering him for years.

“I have had vitiligo for about six to seven years but did not seek treatment as the spots were concentrated in a small area. I was shocked when it suddenly began to spread in the past six months. I underwent skin graft for my hand here,” he said.

It is a little over a month since Stanley Hospital opened its cosmetology department but its cosmetic services are already popular among patients.

In the past month, the department has received over 900 patients mostly for acne scar revision, treatment of vitiligo, laser treatment and other procedures such as hair transplantation and skin tightening.

“Cosmetology has been a sub-section in the dermatology department. With cosmetic treatments being the need of the hour, a separate department was opened here. This is the first time a government hospital has a separate cosmetology department,” said G.R. Ratnavel, professor and head, cosmetology department.

The department began in September-end and so far, 354 surgeries have been performed.

There are at least 40 to 50 outpatients a day, said Dr. Ratnavel. He said most of the patients seek treatment for acne scar revision. “Many patients are also treated for vitiligo through procedures such as punch grafting, skin grafting, tattooing and melanocyte culture,” he said.

Dr. Ratnavel said in melanocyte culture, which was being done for the first time at the hospital, skin from any part of the body is cultured. The cultured tissue is then grafted back on to the patient. Melanocyte culture has been done on five patients, so far.

Laser surgeries for pigmentary conditions and small tumours on the skin, skin tightening, hair removal and warts removal procedures are also much sought after.

“We have introduced a new technique — platelet rich plasma. Platelets, which comprise six per cent of blood, is separated from the blood, activated and given back to the patient. This helps in skin repair and rejuvenation for anti-ageing. We have done this procedure on 20 to 22 patients,” he said.

Also, three patients have undergone hair transplantation. “These procedures are expensive elsewhere but carried out for free here. For instance, hair transplantation costs Rs. 50,000 while melanocyte culture costs Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 70,000 and laser procedures cost Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 8,000 per sitting,” he said. The department has recently introduced pressotherapy for weight reduction.

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