The most important thing to know about morphea scleroderma is that it is entirely different from systemic scleroderma — and it is never fatal.
Overview of Morphea Video Presented by Amanda Thorpe
Morphea is a type of localised scleroderma. It affects the skin and sometimes underlying muscles and joints, which can cause disability, but it is not life threatening.
Morphea is usually diagnosed by clinical examination and can be confirmed with a skin biopsy. It is most commonly found on the trunk but it can occur anywhere on the body.
It's most common form is a plaque-type that affects only skin and that often begins fading 3 to 5 years after onset, even without treatment. However the deeper, rapidly spreading forms of morphea require early diagnosis and, if possible, treatment by a scleroderma expert.
Currently, UVA1 phototherapy is widely recommended as a first-line treatment for morphea, and it is also used for treating well-established morphea. (Also see: Morphea Treatments)
Morphea usually begins as patches of yellowish or ivory-colored rigid, dry skin. These then become hard, slightly depressed, oval-shaped plaques which usually have a whitish or yellowish center surrounded by a pinkish or purplish halo.
Morphea is most commonly found on the trunk, but it can occur anywhere on the body. About 75% of the time it affects only the skin or underlying muscles and joints.
The most common type of morphea is a simple plaque-type, which affects only the skin and not the underlying tissues. It typically begins fading within about 3-5 years after onset, even without any treatment at all. Deeper, fast-spreading, cosmetically apparent, or different forms of morphea require early diagnosis and, preferably, treatment by a scleroderma expert. The rare types of morphea include:
Morphea, also known as localized scleroderma, is a disorder characterized by thickening and induration of the skin and subcutaneous tissue due to excessive collagen deposition. Morphea subtypes are classified according to their clinical presentation and depth of tissue involvement; they include plaque-type, generalized, linear, and deep varieties. eMedicine.
First U.S. Morphea Registry and DNA Repository for both Adults and Children Established. Dermatologists at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are establishing a DNA repository aimed at people with morphea. They will collect information about other health conditions present, collect information about family history, and collect blood and skin samples to further define the genes associated with morphea and the genetic faces of morphea. Southwestern Medical Center. 05/31/07.
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