|Wednesday, 09 December 2009 14:18|
Morphea, is one of two types of localized Scleroderma, and a disorder characterized by excessive collagen deposits leading to thickening of the dermis, subcutaneous tissues, or both. The cause of Scleroderma is unknown. It is important to remember that it is not contagious, nor inherited or passed on from one generation to the next, except in rare circumstances. We do know that in Scleroderma, the body produces too much of a protein called collagen.
Morphea is classified into plaque, generalized, linear, and deep subtypes according to the clinical presentation and depth of tissue involvement.
Unlike Systemic Sclerosis, Morphea lacks features such as Sclerodactyly, Raynaud's phenomenon, and internal organ involvement. Saleh et al (2009) discussed a new variant, termed Superficial Morphea, which is characterized clinically by hyperpigmented or hypopigmented patches of skin that lack induration.
Early Morphea Scleroderma has an inflammatory stage, followed by one or more slowly enlarging patches or plaques. These plaques are most commonly oval in shape and vary in size. They have an ivory/yellow center and are surrounded by a violet colored area.
The violet color signifies that the Scleroderma is in a state of activity. The plaques feel firm and hard, but are not deeply bound down. They may be depressed or slightly elevated and are seen more often on the trunk, but may also occur on the face and extremities.
An uncommon form of Morphea is the guttate variety. It is characterized by multiple, small, chalk-white spots which vary in size from 1 to 10mm in diameter. The violet-colored line may surround all or some of the spots and in cases of long duration the line may be brown or grayish. Guttate Morphea primarily involves the chest, neck and shoulders, and only occasionally other parts of the body. Localized Morphea may last from a few months to many years. However, a large proportion of Morphea patients improve spontaneously.
The following are some excellent resources, which have additional information and images on Morphea Scleroderma. You can read more about treatments, types, and associated complications.
HealthCentral.com (2009), "Morphea Scleroderma". http://www.healthcentral.com/encyclopedia/408/37.html
HealthScout (2009), "Morphea Scleroderma". http://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/37/main.html
EMedicine (2009), "Morphea". http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1065782-overview
AOCD (2009), "Morphea". http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/morphea.html
MayoClinic (2009), "Morphea". http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/morphea/DS00718/DSECTION=symptoms