Orofacial granulomatosis: clinical features and long-term outcome of therapy

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Apr;62(4):611-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.03.051. Epub 2010 Feb 4.


Background: Orofacial granulomatosis (OFG) is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by persistent or recurrent soft tissue enlargement, oral ulceration, and a variety of other orofacial features. There remain few detailed reports of the clinical features and long-term response to therapy of substantial groups of patients with OFG.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine retrospectively the clinical, hematologic, and histopathological features of a large case series of patients with OFG. In addition the long-term response to therapy was examined.

Methods: Clinically relevant data of 49 patients with OFG who attended a single oral medicine unit in the United Kingdom were retrospectively examined. The analyzed parameters included diagnostic features, clinical manifestations, and outcomes and adverse side effects of therapy.

Results: Labial swelling was the most common presenting clinical feature at diagnosis (75.5%), followed by intraoral mucosal features other than ulceration such as cobblestoning and gingival enlargement (73.5%). Mucosal ulceration was observed in 36.7% of patients whereas extraoral facial manifestations such as cutaneous erythema and swelling were present in 40.8% of patients. Of the 45 patients who required treatment, 24 (53.3%) were treated with topical corticosteroids/immunosuppressants only, whereas 21 (46.7%) received a combined therapy (topical plus systemic corticosteroids/immunosuppressants and/or intralesional corticosteroids). The long-term outcome analysis showed complete/partial resolution of tissue swelling and oral ulceration in 78.8% and 70% of patients, respectively.

Limitations: The main limitation of the current study was its retrospective design and methodology including differences in reporting clinical features and outcome.

Conclusions: OFG can show multiple facial and mucosal clinical features. Long-term treatment with topical and/or combined therapy is needed in the majority of patients. Response to therapy is highly variable even though in the long-term complete/partial disease resolution can be obtained in the majority of patients. Mucosal ulceration tends to be more recalcitrant than orofacial swelling. Adverse side effects of therapy are rare.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Granulomatosis, Orofacial / diagnosis*
  • Granulomatosis, Orofacial / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult