Freeman-Burian syndrome

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2019 Jan 10;14(1):14. doi: 10.1186/s13023-018-0984-2.


Clinical description: Freeman-Burian syndrome (FBS) is a rare congenital myopathic craniofacial syndrome. Considerable variability in severity is seen, but diagnosis requires the following: microstomia, whistling-face appearance (pursed lips), H or V-shaped chin defect, and prominent nasolabial folds. Some patients do not have limb malformations, but essentially all do, typically camptodactyly with ulnar deviation of the hand and talipes equinovarus. Neuro-cognitive function is not impaired.

Epidemiology: Population prevalence of FBS is unknown.

Aetiology: Environmental and parental factors are not implicated in pathogenesis. Allelic variations in embryonic myosin heavy chain gene are associated with FBS. White fibrous tissue within histologically normal muscle fibres and complete replacement of muscle by fibrous tissue, which behaves like tendinous tissue, are observed.

Management: Optimal care seems best achieved through a combination of early craniofacial reconstructive surgery and intensive physiotherapy for most other problems. Much of the therapeutic focus is on the areas of fibrous tissue replacement, which are either operatively released or gradually stretched with physiotherapy to reduce contractures. Operative procedures and techniques that do not account for the unique problems of the muscle and fibrous tissue replacement have poor clinical and functional outcomes. Important implications exist to facilitate patients' legitimate opportunity to meaningfully overcome functional limitations and become well.

Keywords: Craniocarpotarsal dysplasia; Craniocarpotarsal dystrophy; Craniofacial syndrome; Distal arthrogryposis; Distal arthrogryposis type 2A; Embryonic myosin heavy chain; Freeman-Sheldon syndrome; Whistling face syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / surgery
  • Contracture / diagnosis
  • Contracture / surgery
  • Craniofacial Dysostosis / diagnosis*
  • Craniofacial Dysostosis / surgery
  • Humans
  • Limb Deformities, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Limb Deformities, Congenital / surgery