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Melkersson-Rosenthal Syndrome (MRS)

What is Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome?

Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome (MRS) is a rare neurological condition that has three main characteristics: facial swelling, deep grooves on the tongue, and facial palsy. It is estimated that 0.08% of the general population is impacted by MRS. 

What are the symptoms of Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome?

Facial swelling (edema), facial palsy, and deep fissures in the tongue are the three major symptoms of MRS, but not every patient presents with all three. In fact, only 8-18% of affected individuals experience all three symptoms. These effects may present in episodes as well. 

Additional symptoms include tinnitus, dry mouth, headaches, dry eyes, difficulty swallowing, migraines, excessive tearing, diarrhea, facial pain, blurred vision, uveitis, dizziness, and inflammation of the intestines.

What causes Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome?

There is no known cause of MRS, but medical professionals have examined numerous possibilities. These include viral or bacterial infections, allergens, hormonal changes, and familial inheritance. Some medical professionals have suggested that MRS is a secondary symptom of another condition, such as sarcoidosis. 

How is Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome diagnosed?

Diagnosing this condition can be a long and difficult process, as the symptoms overlap with a number of other conditions. Doctors often suspect MRS upon a physical examination and finding the three characteristic symptoms. In some cases, a biopsy of the lips is necessary to rule out other conditions.

What are the treatments for Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome?

There is no current standard of care for MRS. Treatment options include antihistamines, antibiotics, corticosteroid injections, NSAIDs, surgery, immunosuppressants, and radiation. 

Where can I find out more about Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome?

MRS Articles