What is Parry-Romberg syndrome?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Parry-Romberg syndrome is a rare condition that causes changes to the skin and other tissues on one side of the face. This disorder usually affects the left side of the face. The skin slowly deteriorates, usually beginning around the nose and mouth. Eventually, the effects of Parry-Romberg syndrome spread to other parts of the face. The eye and cheek on the affected side may appear sunken. The skin may change color, while facial hair can turn white or fall out.

A person with Parry-Romberg syndrome may develop other problems, such as seizures. Parry-Romberg usually occurs in childhood. It is more common in females. Although there is no cure for Parry-Romberg syndrome, surgery and other procedures may help to repair some of the damage it can cause.

Parry-Romberg syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by slowly progressive deterioration (atrophy) of the skin and soft tissues of half of the face (hemifacial atrophy), usually the left side. It is more common in females than in males. Initial facial changes usually involve tissues above the upper jaw (maxilla) or between the nose and the upper corner of the lip (nasolabial fold) and subsequently progress to the angle of the mouth, areas around the eye, the brow, the ear, and the neck. The deterioration may also affect the tongue, the soft and fleshy part of the roof of the mouth, and gums. The eye and cheek of the affected side may become sunken, and facial hair may turn white and fall out (alopecia). In addition, in some cases, the skin overlying the affected areas may become darkly pigmented (hyperpigmentation) with the areas of hyperpigmentation and patches of unpigmented skin (vitiligo). Parry-Romberg syndrome is also accompanied by neurological abnormalities including seizures and episodes of severe facial pain (trigeminal neuralgia). The onset of the disorder usually begins between the ages of 5 and 15 years. The progression of atrophy often lasts from 2 to 10 years, and then, the process seems to enter a stable phase. Muscles in the face may atrophy, and there may be bone loss in facial bones. Problems with the retina and optic nerve may occur when the disorder surrounds the eye.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke .

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