What is and what causes Parry-Romberg syndrome?
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
What are the signs and symptoms of Parry-Romberg syndrome?
Initial facial changes usually involve the 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 the gums. The eye and cheek
of the affected side may become sunken and facial hair may turn white and fall
out (alopecia). In addition, the skin overlying affected areas may become darkly
pigmented (hyperpigmentation) with, in some cases, 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).
At what age does Parry-Romberg syndrome occur?
The onset of the disease usually
begins between the ages of 5 and 15 years. The progression of the 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 the facial bones.
Problems with the retina and optic nerve may occur when the disease surrounds
Is there any treatment for Parry-Romberg syndrome?
There is no cure and there are no treatments that can stop the progression of
Parry-Romberg syndrome. Reconstructive or microvascular surgery may be needed to
repair wasted tissue. The timing of surgical intervention is generally agreed to
be the best following exhaustion of the disease course and completion of facial
growth. Most surgeons will recommend a waiting period of one or two years before
proceeding with reconstruction. Muscle or bone grafts may also be helpful. Other
treatment is symptomatic and supportive.
What is the prognosis for Parry-Romberg syndrome?
The prognosis for individuals with Parry-Romberg syndrome varies. In some
cases, the atrophy ends before the entire face is affected. In mild cases, the
disorder usually causes no disability other than cosmetic effects.
What research is being done for Parry-Romberg syndrome?
The NINDS supports research on neurological disorders such as Parry-Romberg
syndrome with the goal of finding ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.
NIH Patient Recruitment for Parry-Romberg Clinical Trials
- At NIH Clinical Center
- Throughout the U.S. and Worldwide
NINDS Clinical Research Collaboration Trials
TNA — Facial Pain Association (formerly the Trigeminal Neuralgia
408 W. University Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601
Tel: 352-384-3600 800-923-3608
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Landover, MD 20785-7223
Tel: 301-459-3700 800-EFA-1000 (332-1000)
March of Dimes
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: 914-997-4488 888-MODIMES (663-4637)
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)