Body site distribution of pediatric-onset morphea and association with extracutaneous manifestations

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021 Jul;85(1):38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2021.03.017. Epub 2021 Mar 6.


Background: The distribution of pediatric-onset morphea and site-based likelihood for extracutaneous complications has not been well characterized.

Objective: To characterize the lesional distribution of pediatric-onset morphea and to determine the sites with the highest association of extracutaneous manifestations.

Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional study was performed. Using clinical photographs, morphea lesions were mapped onto body diagrams using customized software.

Results: A total of 823 patients with 2522 lesions were included. Lesions were more frequent on the superior (vs inferior) anterior aspect of the head and extensor (vs flexor) extremities. Linear morphea lesions were more likely on the head and neck, whereas plaque and generalized morphea lesions were more likely on the trunk. Musculoskeletal complications were more likely with lesions on the extensor (vs flexor) extremity (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-3.4), whereas neurologic manifestations were more likely with lesions on the anterior (vs posterior) (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.7-4.6) and superior (vs inferior) aspect of the head (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.6-3.4).

Limitations: Retrospective nature and the inclusion of only patients with clinical photographs.

Conclusion: The distribution of pediatric-onset morphea is not random and varies with body site and within individual body sites. The risk stratification of extracutaneous manifestations by body site may inform decisions about screening for extracutaneous manifestations, although prospective studies are needed.

Keywords: body area; body site; distribution; location; morphea; scleroderma.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Headache Disorders / diagnosis
  • Headache Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Headache Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Photography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Scleroderma, Localized / complications
  • Scleroderma, Localized / diagnosis
  • Scleroderma, Localized / epidemiology*
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / epidemiology*
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Skin / diagnostic imaging