Orofacial Granulomatosis

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Orofacial granulomatosis (OFG) is also known as Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome, Cheilitis Granulomatosis, and Schuermann's Glossitis Granulomatosa. It is an uncommon inflammatory condition that affects the face and lips in people, but it is most common in early adult years.

OFG is an inflammatory disease

 lips.jpgOFG results in swelling and inflammation of tissues, with clumps of many different types of white cells. The cause of OFG is unknown. While inflammation in OFG has been blamed on infections, there is no definite proof that OFG is due to any one infectious organism. 

Lip swelling is common

Lip swelling due to OFG may initially only last a few hours at a time, and can be difficult to distinguish from another type of lip swelling known as angioedema. As the condition progresses, swelling tends to last for days at a time, and eventually becomes permanent. Sometimes cracking and dryness of the lips occurs.

Other common symptoms

Swelling of the face and eyes can also occur in OFG. Some people have a fissured tongue, and may sometimes develop facial paralysis. Mouth ulcers and inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis may be seen. Other symptoms include tongue swelling or a sensation of a burning tongue. Occasionally facial numbness, and cheek or gum swelling can develop.

Confirming the diagnosis

As there are many possible causes of lip swelling, tests are often required to prove the diagnosis, and to exclude diseases that can mimic OFG. These tests may include blood tests, taking a sample of the involved tissue (biopsy), x-rays or other specialized tests.

Treatment options

Swellings may resolve spontaneously without treatment, but most persist for many years. While no one treatment is always effective, a number of options are available. These include:

  • Elimination diets.
  • Medications that reduce inflammation.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Plastic Surgery.

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Updated May 2019

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