Types of Morphea
Causes of Morphea
Complications of Morphea
Patient and Caregiver Stories
The most important thing to know about morphea scleroderma is that it is entirely different from systemic scleroderma — and it is never fatal.
Morphea is a type of localized 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:
Morpheaform or Basal Cell
Morphea Profunda (Subcutaneous)
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. Medscape.
Morphea scleroderma and its variants are also known as atrophoderma of Pasini and Pierini, bullous morphea, circumscribed scleroderma, deep morphea, disabling pansclerotic morphea, en coup de sabre, eosinophilic fasciitis, generalized morphea, guttate morphea, keloid, keloidal, or keloid-like morphea, linear morphea, localized scleroderma, morphea profunda, nodular morphea, pansclerotic morphea, plaque-type morphea, progressive hemifacial atrophy, progressive facial atrophy, Parry Rombergs, Shulman's syndrome, and subcutaneous morphea.
Coping with a Child's Illness
Patient and Caregiver Stories
Conditions Associated with Morphea Scleroderma. About 25% of morphea patients will have at least one extra-cutaneous (non-skin) manifestation, but less than 4% of morphea patients will develop more than two non-skin manifestations. ISN.
Cancer: T-Cell Lymphoma
Causes of Morphea. The cause of morphea scleroderma is unknown in most cases, however sometimes it has been association with cancer, infections, medications, radiation, solvents, and vitamin B12. ISN.
Solvents, Organic Solvents
Linear morphea presenting as acquired unilateral edema. Pediatr Dermatol. 2007 Mar-Apr;24(2):147-50. (Also see Edema)
Plaque-type scleroderma associated with linear and oesophageal features and facial and extra-facial hemiatrophy. PubMed, Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Jan;134(1):68-71. (Also see Linear Scleroderma)
Morphea of the breast. Two case reports. PubMed, J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2006;59(10):1114-7.
Diagnosis of Morphea. Morphea is usually diagnosed by clinical examination. The diagnosis is sometimes confirmed with blood tests, skin biopsies, or other methods. ISN.
|Morphea is a Clinical Diagnosis
Photos of Morphea
|Morphea Skin Biopsy
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.
Apligraf for Bullous Ulcers
Endermology or LPG
Methotrexate and Glucocorticoids
Phototherapy, UVA, PUVA
Tacrolimus Cream: Warning
SCLERO.ORG is the world leader for trustworthy research, support, education and awareness for scleroderma and related illnesses, such as pulmonary hypertension. We are a service of the nonprofit International Scleroderma Network (ISN), which is a 501(c)(3) U.S.-based public charitable foundation, established in 2002. Meet Our Team or Volunteer.
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
7455 France Ave So #266
Edina, MN 55435-4702 USA
Ask for our Welcoming Email!
Toll Free US/Canada Scleroderma Hotline
*5-13-2015: This is a temporary number while our usual 1-800-564-7099 is being ported to a new provider.