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Complications Of Morphea

Morphea is a skin disease represented by fibrosed, discolored and hard patches on the skin. This condition causes hardening of the skin. It is a localized form of scleroderma that is limited to the skin only. It does not cause too much harm to the health of a person. The exact cause of this condition is not clearly understood. It develops more commonly in women. It is usually a painless condition. It recovers by itself in three to six years. However, it may cause complications such as joint contractures, muscle atrophy, etc. as discussed below.

Complications Of Morphea

Complications Of Morphea

  • Although morphea settles on its own in a few years but in a few cases, it may lead to complications that need medical attention.
  • The lesions of morphea that are discolored or thickened may merge with each other forming a big lesion or a condition that cause generalized morphea.
  • Generalized morphea can lead to joint contractures, shortness of limbs and wasting of muscles.
  • Young children who have developed hard lesions on their skin of face or neck may develop permanent damage to the eye. It is seen in linear morphea. It can also cause neurological ailments and seizures.
  • It has been observed that sclerosis of eyelids or lacrimal ducts may cause dry eyes.
  • Hard and firm skin developed on the joints may cause limitation in the movement of the joint with pain.
  • Morphea can also cause cosmetic deformities in the affected areas.
  • Linear and deep morphea may cause joint contractures and atrophy of muscles that can lead to retarded growth in the limbs of children.
  • Reflux and various vascular complaints may also develop due to morphea.
  • It may also lead to a constant feeling of reflux and various vascular complaints.
  • Arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome may develop in association with linear and deep lesions of morphea.
  • The common complication of morphea is hair loss in the affected area.
  • Some people with morphea may develop lichen sclerosis on the genitals. The skin of this area becomes itchy and dry. It may also cause burning in this area.
  • Pansclerotic morphea can lead to breathing difficulties.
  • In rare cases of pansclerotic morphea, the lesions may cause chronic ulcers and squamous cell carcinoma in the skin.

Morphea is a pathological condition represented by a change in the color and thickness of the skin. It is marked by ivory colored plaques that have inflamed borders. These lesions develop on the skin of the abdomen, trunk, chest or back. They develop in women in their childhood. It is rarely seen in men. Its incidence is highest in between 20-50 years of age. However, it does not affect the life expectancy of the affected person. Linear morphea is the most common type of morphea which is usually seen in children.

Doctors do not know the reasons behind the occurrence of morphea. It is assumed that the autoimmune reaction of the body might have caused the disease. Infection, trauma, cancer, genetic changes, radiation therapy etc., are supposed to be other factors that can trigger morphea.

Symptoms Of Morphea

Morphea is represented by its typical lesions. The lesions are hard, firm, or thickened patches that have lightened center. They are oval shaped and usually limited to the skin. They appear on abdomen, trunk, chest or back and may involve face, neck or limbs. They lead to the loss of hair in the affected area. They are usually painless. They sometimes become so hard that they may involve the tissues of bone or muscles.


Morphea is a rare disease of the skin that is marked by the presence of one or more hard lesions on the skin. It settles on its own in 3 to 5 years. It rarely complicates. The complications of morphea are joint contractures, shortness of limbs, facial atrophy, dry eyes, lichen sclerosis and others discussed above.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 31, 2023

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