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Scleroderma of childhood
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Scleroderma of childhood

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Contributors: Sophia Delano MD, Susan Burgin MD
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This summary discusses scleroderma in children. Scleroderma in adults is addressed separately.

Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a systemic connective tissue disease that causes sclerosis and hardening of the bodily tissues due to increased production and deposition of types I and III collagens. The word "scleroderma" means hard skin and is a part of many syndromes, occurring in a more common localized form called morphea and the systemic forms discussed here.

In children, localized disease, especially over the lower extremities, is more common than the systemic form. Localized forms of scleroderma, or morphea, can impact growth, leading to facial or limb asymmetry, contractures, and disability. In its localized form, scleroderma presents as smooth, circumscribed plaques of firm skin. The borders of localized scleroderma may be indurated with a slightly violaceous or erythematous hue.

Juvenile systemic sclerosis may affect the connective tissue in many parts of the body: the skin, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, kidneys, heart, and other internal organs. It may also affect blood vessels, muscles, and joints. The esophagus is usually affected by fibrosis, and symptoms of dysphagia become apparent.

Juvenile systemic sclerosis may present in 3 different ways: diffuse cutaneous involvement, limited cutaneous involvement, and an overlap syndrome with features of connective tissue diseases such as dermatomyositis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Compared to adults with systemic sclerosis, the overlapping presentation with connective tissue disease is more common in pediatric patients.

CREST syndrome is a type of systemic sclerosis that presents with calcinosis, Raynaud disease, esophageal involvement, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasias. It generally has a more chronic course than systemic sclerosis.


M34.9 – Systemic sclerosis, unspecified

724603009 – Pediatric onset systemic sclerosis

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Last Reviewed: 10/05/2017
Last Updated: 10/05/2017
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Scleroderma of childhood
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Scleroderma of childhood : Fatigue, Hyperpigmented patch, Hypopigmented patch, Sclerodactyly, Taut, shiny skin, Telangiectasia, Weight loss, Arthralgia, Dysphagia, Myalgia, Hardened skin
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