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
OFG 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.
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.
- Plastic Surgery.
© ASCIA 2019
ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand.
ASCIA resources are based on published literature and expert review, however, they are not intended to replace medical advice. The content of ASCIA resources is not influenced by any commercial organisations.
For more information go to www.allergy.org.au
To donate to immunology/allergy research go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au
Updated May 2019