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.
Skin mapping for the classification of generalized morphea. Symmetric and isomorphic subsets possess distinctive demographic and clinical features, suggesting they more accurately define the phenotype of generalized morphea. PubMed, J Am Acad Dermatol, 2018 Feb;78(2):351-357.
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
Morphoea with prominent plasma cell endoneuritis. We report two cases of morphoea that histologically showed plasma cell endoneuritis associated with subtle dermal sclerosis. PubMed, Clin Exp Dermatol, 01/04/2017.
Facial linear scleroderma associated with neurological abnormalities relating to microangiopathy. Clinicians may not always be familiar with the neurological abnormalities associated with localized facial scleroderma even if such abnormalities are not uncommon. PubMed, Ann Dermatol Venereol, 2016 Dec;143(12):831-835.
(Case Reports) Morphea of the breast. PubMed, J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg.
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
Apligraf for Bullous Ulcers
Endermology or LPG
Methotrexate and Glucocorticoids
Phototherapy, UVA, PUVA
Tacrolimus Cream: Warning
United Way of Central New Mexico
United Way of Snohomish County
See ISN News for recent donors, including Pam Hop, Margaret Roof, Winifred Schillberg, Arnold Slotkin, and Juliet Youkhana. Plus donations in honor of Kim Thwaits, and in loving memory of Marta Marx, Jim Miller, and Arlene Marie Petulla.
Click Here to Donate or Shop
or click on the floating green DONATE sclero.org button.
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. Donations may also be mailed to: