46: Orofacial granulomatosis

Orofacial granulomatosis


Orofacial granulomatosis (OFG) is an uncommon condition very similar to Crohn disease, due to granulomatous inflammation (Fig. 46.1) and often presents with granulomatous cheilitis, a rare, chronic swelling of the lip. OFG can also manifest with angular stomatitis and/or cracked lips (Fig. 46.2), ulcers, mucosal tags, cobble-stoning or gingival hyperplasia.


The cause of OFG is unknown, but it may be related to, or may be, Crohn disease and there may be a genetic predisposition. A delayed type of hypersensitivity reaction appears to be involved, although the exact antigen inducing the immunological reaction appears to vary in individual patients. The inflammatory response is:


OFG presents with:

image Non-tender swelling and enlargement of one or both lips (Figs 46.1 and 46.2). At the first episode the swelling typically subsides completely in hours or days, but after recurrent attacks the swelling may persist, slowly increases in degree and eventually becomes permanent. The lip involved may feel soft, firm or nodular on palpation. Swellings involve, in decreasing order of frequency, the lip and one or both cheeks. Less commonly, lingual, palatal, gingival and buccal swellings also may occur. The forehead, the eyelids or one side of the scalp may be involved as well or in isolation. The normal lip architecture is eventually chronically altered by the persistence of lymphoedema and non-caseating granulomas in the lamina propria. Once chronicity is established, the enlarged lip appears cracked and fissured, with reddish brown discolouration and scaling becomes painful and eventually acquires the consistency of firm rubber.

image Thickening and folding of the oral mucosa produces a ‘cobblestone’ type of appearance and mucosal tags (Figs 46.446.6). Purple granulomatous enlargements may appear on the gingiva.

Fig. 46.6 OFG mucosal tag

image Ulcers appear: classically involving the buccal sulcus where they appear as linear ulcers, often with granulomatous masses flanking them.

image The attacks of OFG are sometimes accompanied by:

Jan 9, 2015 | Posted by in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology | Comments Off on 46: Orofacial granulomatosis
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