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Keywords:

  • localized scleroderma;
  • morphea;
  • systemic sclerosis

Abstract

Objective

Localized scleroderma (morphea) is a rare autoimmune disease limited to the skin, characterized by cutaneous fibrosing and obstructive vasculopathy. Localized scleroderma may invade into the subcutaneous fat layer and cause permanent functional disability. Because of its rarity, there have been few clinical surveys of patients with localized scleroderma in Korea. The aim of this study was to elucidate the clinical presentation, serological data, and clinical outcomes of localized scleroderma.

Methods

This was a retrospective survey conducted by reviewing available medical records during a 7 year-period from 2004 to 2010 in a single medical center in Jeju Island, South Korea. In total 43 patients with localized scleroderma were included.

Results

Localized scleroderma occurred primarily in females (female to male ratio 2.6 : 1.0). Most patients were between 10 and 29 years of age and the mean age at diagnosis was 26.2 years. Plaque (51.2%) and linear morphea (37.2%) were most common. No case was associated with systemic scleroderma (systemic sclerosis). The most common site of plaque morphea was the trunk (47.8%). In the linear type, the most common site was head-neck (52.9%). Fluorescent antinuclear antibody was positive in 23.3% of all cases. Treatment included systemic corticosteroids, colchicine, anti-malarial agents, D-penicillamine or intralesional triamcinolone injection. Clinical improvement, including significant and partial response, was seen in only 62.8% of treated patients.

Conclusion

Localized scleroderma is a chronic inflammatory condition confined to the skin. In order to exclude other conditions, thorough history taking, physical examination, serologic studies and histopathologic examinations should be conducted.