Parry Romberg syndromeParry-Romberg syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by slowly progressive degeneration (atrophy) of the soft tissues of half of the face (hemifacial atrophy); distinctive changes of the eyes and hair; and neurological abnormalities including episodes of uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain (seizures) and episodes of severe pain in tissues supplied by the fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve) including the mouth, cheek, nose, and/or other facial tissues (trigeminal
neuralgia). Symptoms and physical findings associated with Parry-Romberg Syndrome usually become apparent during the first or early during the second decade of life. In rare cases, the disorder is apparent at birth. The majority of individuals with Parry-Romberg Syndrome experience symptoms before the age of 20 years.
In individuals with the disorder, 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 progress to involve the angle of the mouth, the areas around the eye, the brow, the ear, and/or the neck. In most cases, progressive tissue wasting is limited to one half of the face, usually the left side. Affected areas may demonstrate shrinkage and atrophy of tissues beneath the skin (subcutaneous tissue), the layer of fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat), and underlying cartilage, muscle, and bone.
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). Many individuals also experience atrophy of half of the upper lip and tongue as well as abnormal exposure, delayed eruption, or wasting of the roots of certain teeth on the affected side. In most affected individuals, hemifacial atrophy typically progresses over approximately three to five years and then ceases. In many cases, hair abnormalities may also appear on the affected side, including whitening (blanching) of the hair as well as abnormal bald patches on the scalp and loss of eyelashes and the middle (median) portion of the eyebrows (alopecia).
In addition, individuals with Parry-Romberg Syndrome also experience associated neurological abnormalities. These may include severe headaches that last for extended periods of time and may be accompanied by visual abnormalities, nausea, and vomiting (migraines); facial pain (trigeminal neuralgia); and/or periods of uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain (seizures) that usually are characterized by rapid spasms of a muscle group that spread to adjacent muscles (contralateral Jacksonian epilepsy). The range and severity of associated symptoms and findings may vary from case to case. In most cases, Parry-Romberg Syndrome appears to occur randomly for unknown reasons (sporadically).