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Mayo Clin Proc. 1995 Nov;70(11):1068-76.

Classification of morphea (localized scleroderma)

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



To classify and describe morphea (localized scleroderma).


A review of morphea and its subtypes is presented.


The current classification of morphea is incomplete and confusing. As knowledge of the spectrum of disease continues to evolve, the controversy and confusing nature of its multiple subtypes present a challenge for the physician who encounters a patient with this condition. Thus, we propose that morphea be classified into the following five groups: plaque, generalized, bullous, linear, and deep. This classification, based on clinical morphologic findings, will simplify the diagnostic and therapeutic approach.


Morphea represents a wide variety of clinical entities that seen to be on the opposite end of the scleroderma spectrum from systemic sclerosis. The cutaneous lesions eventually evolve from a sclerotic stage to a nonindurated stage, and residual hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation follows. The histologic pattern in patients with morphea is similar to that in patients with progressive systemic sclerosis. Although treatment is nonstandardized, hydroxychloroquine sulfate may be beneficial.

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