Skin Viscoelasticity in Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma)

Author: Jo Frowde. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Early Diagnosis of SSc


large colorful clownSkin is the largest organ in our body. It protects us from environmental factors, like sunshine and chemicals.

It is like elastic, in that it stretches and then snaps back to its original shape and size, which is called viscoelasticity.

Sometimes our skin loses its elasticity. This is usually caused by either dehydration, swelling, or disease. Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) is one of the diseases that can reduce the skin's ability to stretch, even before it causes noticeable skin hardening or tightening.

Therefore, detecting subtle changes in reduced skin viscoelasticity can help diagnose scleroderma at an earlier stage. (Also see What is Scleroderma?, Skin Fibrosis, and Sclerodactyly)

Measurement of Skin Viscoelasticity

Skin viscoelasticity: physiologic mechanisms, measurement issues, and application to nursing science. The Cutometer® is an option for measuring viscoelasticity in clinical and bench research protocols. PubMed, Biol Res Nurs.

Early Diagnoses of Systemic Sclerosis

The Increased Skin Viscoelasticity - A Possible New Fifth Sign for the Very Early Diagnosis of Systemic Sclerosis. In combination with nailfold videocapillaroscopy, the increased skin viscoelasticity parameter could be proposed as the possible new fifth sign for the very early diagnosis of SSc. Current Rheumatology Reviews, 08/06/2014. (Also see Diagnosis of Skin Fibrosis)


Introduction to ultrasound elastography. Shear wave elastography, carries great hopes in the field of quantitative imaging of tissue lesions and this article describes the physical basis of both elastographic methods: compression elastography and shear wave elastography. PubMed, J Ultrason, 2016 Jun;16(65):113-24.

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