Melkersson Rosenthal syndrome is a rare neurological disorder which is marked by recurring facial paralysis, facial swelling, swelling of the upper lip, and development of fold and furrows in the tongue.
The disease starts to develop in the childhood or early adolescence in the patient. The attacks are recurrent and may range from days to years in between. The swelling is persisting and increasing, becoming permanent eventually. The lip hardens and cracks, showing a reddish-brown discolouration.
What causes Melkersson Rosenthal syndrome is not known and though a gene has not been identified, it is believed that a genetic link may be involved in causing this syndrome.
For treating Melkersson Rosenthal syndrome, the symptoms are taken into account and medicines are prescribed to relieve them. Doctors usually ask the patient to take medication therapies with anti-inflammatory medication and corticosteroids to reduce swelling.
There may be severe cases when an occasional surgery may be recommended which aims at relieving pressure on the facial nerves and reducing swollen tissue; the effectiveness of surgery in this case has not been established.
Physiotherapists at specialised centres can help patients through Facial Rehabilitation for facial palsy. The treatment is similar to the treatment for Bell’s palsy although the causes of the two conditions are different. Speech and language therapies are also available.
Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome may reoccur and may stop and start at regular intervals after its first occurrence. The person will therefore experience intermittent facial weakness which can resolve as the nerve recovers. It can become a long standing problem as with each attack recovery is less satisfactory.
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