Morphoea

Morphoea is a benign form of localized systemic sclerosis. It is a rare skin condition where patches of skin become hardened and lose their normal texture, becoming shiny. Sometimes the bones and muscles underneath the patches of skin become affected as well.

Morphoea cause is unknown, but it seems to affect slightly more females than males.

Morphoea is also sometimes called localized scleroderma. This means it is localized to the skin and is quite separate from the condition of systemic scleroderma which affects internal organs.

Morphoea is rare, and is estimated to have an incidence of 1–3 per 100,000 children. It is three times more common in females compared to males and often begins in childhood. Although not hereditary, certain HLA subtypes (HLA-DRB1*04:04 and HLA-B*37) are associated with an increased risk of morphoea.

The main symptom of morphoea is the distinctive patches of hardened and shiny skin. These patches can have knock-on effects depending on their position on the body. Like: if the patch is on the face, this can cause dental problems as the bone underneath the patch shrinks and becomes thinner. If the patch is on a limb, particularly over a joint, this can cause the joint to stiffen making it difficult to bend and straighten. It also causes limb length discrepancy where one limb is shorter than the other.

The common form of plaque morphoea, does not cause symptoms.

The doctor will ask their patients about the following symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Seizures etc.

The cause is unknown. But it is known that cells called fibroblasts make too much of a protein called collagen. The collagen gets deposited in the skin, causing scarring and thickening (fibrosis).

It is unknown why the fibroblasts produce too much collagen in the areas of affected skin. It is probably some fault with the immune system. It is sometimes seen after the development of diseases in which the immune system attacks the body’s own cells (autoimmune conditions, like ANAs, antiScl70, anti-centromere antibody, anticardiolipin antibody, RF), like lichen sclerosis and lichen planus. It can also occur after tick bites (Lyme disease), measles, radiotherapy local injury to the skin and pregnancy. Most of the time, there is no obvious cause.

The aim of treatment is to stop the disease from getting any worse, which will prevent complications from developing. It also aims to improve the texture of the skin, although the patches can never be completely cleared. The common form, plaque morphoea, does not always need treatment. This form often does not cause symptoms and gradually improves or clears away after a few years. Strong creams or ointments are sometimes used as they may help to stop it spreading. Like:

  • Cream or ointment containing calcipotriol.
  • Tacrolimus ointment.
  • Imiquimod cream.
  • Steroid creams or ointments.

For other types of localized scleroderma, treatment will vary depending on the individual situation, the severity of the condition and whether underlying tissues are affected. One of the creams or ointments above may be used in some cases. If it is too widespread or too deep or too severe, one or more of the following treatments may be used. Like:

  • Ultraviolet light therapy.
  • High-dose steroids.
  • Medicines affecting the immune system, like methotrexate.
  • Physiotherapy or surgery may help if the skin is very tight or if there is a deformity or scar underneath the skin.

To confirm the diagnosis, need to consult with a doctor. Before start medication like Steroid or Immunosuppressive drug, need to consult with a specialist.

  • Oxford hand Book of medical Dermatology
  • ABC Of Dermatology
  • Clinical Dermatology

Morphoea

TUI - Tibot Urgency Index

Morphoea is a benign form of localized systemic sclerosis. It is a rare skin condition where patches of skin become hardened and lose their normal texture, becoming shiny. Sometimes the bones and muscles underneath the patches of skin become affected as well.

Morphoea cause is unknown, but it seems to affect slightly more females than males.

Morphoea is also sometimes called localized scleroderma. This means it is localized to the skin and is quite separate from the condition of systemic scleroderma which affects internal organs.

Morphoea is rare, and is estimated to have an incidence of 1–3 per 100,000 children. It is three times more common in females compared to males and often begins in childhood. Although not hereditary, certain HLA subtypes (HLA-DRB1*04:04 and HLA-B*37) are associated with an increased risk of morphoea.

Recommendation for you

Dr. Lora Smith

MBBS (Dhaka), DGO (DU) Ex SR. Gynaecologist & Obstetrician

09 606 111 222

Diagnose Skin Disorders

Use our AI chatbot to determine your skin conditon

Diagnose Skin Disorders