Print friendly version
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.
Morphea (mor-FEE-ah) comes from a Greek word that means “form” or “structure.” The word refers to local patches of scleroderma. The first signs of the disease are reddish patches of skin that thicken into firm, oval-shaped areas. The center of each patch becomes ivory colored with violet borders. These patches sweat very little and have little hair growth. Patches appear most often on the chest, stomach, and back. Sometimes they appear on the face, arms, and legs. In most cases, morphea improves spontaneously over time (typically 3 to 5 years); however, patients are often left with patches of darkened or discolored skin and, in rare cases, muscle damage. The cause of this condition is unknown. Morphea can be either localized or generalized.
- Scleroderma. National Institute of Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed January 28, 2010.
- What is Scleroderma?. Scleroderma Research Foundation. http://www.srfcure.org/srf/patients/whatis.htm. Accessed January 28, 2010.
- Morphea. MayoClinic.com. http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/morphea/DS00718/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print. Accessed January 28, 2010.
- DermNet NZ is an online resource about skin diseases developed by the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. DermNet NZ provides information about this condition. Click on the link to view the information.
- MedlinePlus, a Web site designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, provides more information about this topic. Click on the link to view this information.
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Morphea. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Selected Full-Text Journal Articles
- Select volumes of the Scleroderma Care and Research Jounal can be viewed by visiting the Scleroderma Clinical Trials Consortium Web site. Click on the link above to learn more.