This form of scleroderma affects some areas of skin and related tissues and, in some cases, the muscles and bones beneath. Internal organs are not affected and localized scleroderma rarely develops into the systemic form of the disease. Often localized scleroderma will improve without drugs, but the skin changes and damages that have occurred may be permanent. As a rule, symptoms in localized scleroderma remain active for three to five years but patients may develop recurrences.
- Linear scleroderma usually occurs in children and teenagers and is characterized by a single line or a band of skin, which thickens on the trunk and/or extremities. This type of scleroderma can very often reach deep into the skin and has the potential to cause serious complications. When the thickened skin appears on the neck or forehead, it is sometimes referred to as “en coup de sabre” or the cut of the sabre. “En coup de sabre” may cause atrophy to the affected parts of the face and lead to considerable deformities.
- Morphea is the most common form of localized scleroderma and usually appears in women between the ages of 20 and 40. It is characterized by oval patches of inflamed, often discoloured, skin. These patches appear most often on the trunk of the body, but may also involve the face, arms and legs. Generally morphea often fades in 3 to 5 years
- Morphea can be localized, generalized or subcutaneous. Localized morphea limits itself to one or several patches ranging in size from 1 centimeter to 30 centimeters in diameter. The disease is referred to as generalized morphea when the skin patches become very hard and dark and spread over larger areas of the body. Subcutaneous morphea indicates a deeper involvement of bone and muscle tissue.