Morphea, a condition sometimes referred to as localized scleroderma, is an inflammatory disorder that occurs in children and adults, with prevalence in females, which leads to the formation of sclerotic plaques in the skin. Although the cause of morphea is not well understood, it is thought to be an autoimmune condition in which environmental and genetic factors may have incidence.
Morphea usually starts with inflammatory lesions that evolve into firm plaques or patches, involving only the skin, or extending deep into the subcutaneous fat, muscle, or bone, which leave atrophic scars after resolution of the inflammation.
Diagnosis of morphea can be made clinically, using biopsy for confirmation. Although bloodwork is not always necessary for a diagnosis of morphea, imaging is indicated when morphea appears to extend into tissue beyond the surface of the skin.
Morphea can be self-limited, making treatment elective in some cases. For those who desire to receive therapy, it may consist of topical creams, intralesional injections, phototherapy, and vitamin D supplementation. More serious disease states involving deep tissues may also require oral systemic treatment. Severe cases of morphea may cause hardening of the skin and joint contractures which may compromise function, therefore it is important to closely monitor patients diagnosed with morphea for the development of these complications.
If you are interested in an evaluation for morphea please contact Florida Skin Center and schedule a full body skin check.