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Systemic Sclerosis Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jun 02, 2016
 
 

Diagnostic Considerations

Spider angiomas may be found in person with alcoholism. Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia is also a consideration. Pheochromocytoma may occasionally mimic scleroderma.[21]

Scleroderma due to taxanes may mimic systemic sclerosis. Taxane chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer may show marked edema first, followed by skin sclerosis occurring mainly at the distal ends of the extremities 6-12 months after the administration of taxane, in all patients. Although skin biopsy samples may show (1) full-layer dermal fibrosis with thickened collagen bundles and (2) perivascular monocytic cell infiltration, resembling systemic sclerosis in clinical course and histological findings, Raynaud phenomenon, pulmonary fibrosis, and immunological abnormalities associated with systemic sclerosis may not be detected.[22]  Clinical overlap of morphea and systemic sclerosis has stimulated considerable interest.[23]

Differential Diagnoses

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Anna Zalewska, MD, PhD Professor of Dermatology and Venereology, Psychodermatology Department, Chair of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, Medical University of Lodz, Poland

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

David F Butler, MD Section Chief of Dermatology, Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Professor of Dermatology, Texas A&M University College of Medicine; Founding Chair, Department of Dermatology, Scott and White Clinic

David F Butler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of Military Dermatologists, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey P Callen, MD Professor of Medicine (Dermatology), Chief, Division of Dermatology, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Jeffrey P Callen, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology

Disclosure: Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: XOMA; Biogen/IDEC; Novartis; Janssen Biotech, Abbvie, CSL pharma<br/>Received honoraria from UpToDate for author/editor; Received honoraria from JAMA Dermatology for associate editor and intermittent author; Received royalty from Elsevier for book author/editor; Received dividends from trust accounts, but I do not control these accounts, and have directed our managers to divest pharmaceutical stocks as is fiscally prudent from Stock holdings in various trust accounts include some pharmaceutical companies and device makers for i inherited these trust accounts; for: Celgene; Pfizer; 3M; Johnson and Johnson; Merck; Abbott Laboratories; AbbVie; Procter and Gamble; Amgen.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Mark W Cobb, MD Consulting Staff, WNC Dermatological Associates

Mark W Cobb, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatopathology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Bozena Dziankowska-Bartkowiak, MD, PhD Consulting Staff, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Medical University of Lodz, Poland

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Anna Sysa-Jedrzejowska, MD, PhD Head, Professor, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Medical University of Lodz, Poland

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Face of 65-year old woman with systemic sclerosis and skin thickening of 20 years' duration: Note the pinched nose, taut skin with numerous telangiectasias, and retraction of the lips.
Telangiectasias affecting the face: They are pronounced and numerous, especially in the atrophic phase of the disease. Radical furrowing around the mouth is also characteristic in the later stage of the disease.
Raynaud phenomenon of the hands: Symmetrical acral vasospasm is present, with characteristic pallor, cyanosis, suffusion, and a sense of fullness and tautness.
Puffy appearance of the woman's hand in the edematous phase of early scleroderma.
In systemic sclerosis, ulceration at the tip of the finger is regarded to be secondary to ischemia.
Hand of a woman with scleroderma of several years' duration: The thickened, tight, thin skin over the fingers is the result of self-amputation of the distal phalanx due to ischemia. Moderately severe flexion contractures of the fingers are present.
In systemic sclerosis, skin hyperpigmentation of the lower legs is surrounded by areas of hypopigmentation. The result is a salt-and-pepper appearance.
 
 
 
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