Parry Romberg syndrome is a disorder characterized by slowly progressing atrophy of the skin of the face usually on the left side of the face (hemifacial atrophy or deterioration). As a condition, Parry Romberg syndrome is fairly rare, more common in females than males, and as of yet there is no cure for the syndrome. Initial treatments for Parry Romberg syndrome are symptomatic and supportive, but once the disease has run its course, reconstructive surgeries can repair the cosmetic and functional problems caused by Parry Romberg syndrome.
Initial symptoms of Parry Romberg syndrome usually manifest themselves in the maxilla (upper jaw) or nasolabial fold (corner of the upper lip, between the lip and the nose). The disease then progresses to the rest of the mouth, areas around the eye and ear, and the brow and the neck last. In these areas, skin may become sunken, facial hair can turn white and fall out, and skin can become victim to hyperpigmentation (pigment darkening too much) or the creation of areas with no pigment at all (vitiligo). The tongue, fleshy part of the roof of the mouth and the gums may also be affected. The onset of the disease usually occurs between ages five and fifteen, with the progression of the atrophy lasting between two and ten years, followed by a period of stability when reconstructive surgeries may be performed.
Beyond atrophy, Parry Romberg syndrome can also result in neurological symptoms, including seizures, facial tics, and episodes of severe facial pain called trigeminal neuralgia. Researchers are currently at work throughout the United States and around the world to find the cause and potential cures for Parry Romberg syndrome.