Background Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease that includes localized and systemic forms. Our recent encounter with a morphea case exhibiting prominent perineural inflammation microscopically prompted us to assess the features of all patients diagnosed with morphea/scleroderma at our institution.
Objective/methods To describe the clinicopathological features of all patients diagnosed with morphea/scleroderma at American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUB-MC) between 1999 and 2010, and compare our findings with those published in the literature.
Results A total of 81 cases (63 women and 18 men) were identified, of which 73 were localized (morphea) and eight were systemic scleroderma. Clinically, plaque type morphea was the most common variant both in adults and children, and seven (9%) cases of morphea were associated with lichen sclerosis et atrophicus (LSA). Histopathologically, perineural inflammation was observed in 49% of cases, and may serve, in addition to other features including lichen sclerosis-like changes (observed in exclusively nine cases of morphea), more diffuse dermal and less subcutaneous sclerosis, and intense inflammation, as clues favouring diagnosis of morphea over systemic sclerosis.
Conclusion The features of morphea/scleroderma patients in this study are generally comparable to those published in the literature, with few differences. Clinically, plaque type morphea was the most common variant both in adults and children and LSA was a frequent association. Histopathologically, perineural inflammation was commonly observed and may serve in addition to lichen sclerosis-like changes and intense inflammation as clues favouring diagnosis of morphea over systemic sclerosis.