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What is Parry-Romberg syndrome?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

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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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.