Purpose: To gain further insight into the pathogenesis of progressive facial hemiatrophy, a sporadic disease of unclear etiology characterized by shrinking and deformation of one side of the face.
Methods: We investigated possible brain involvement. MR of the head and face was performed in three female patients with progressive facial hemiatrophy. The central-nervous-system findings were correlated to a clinical protocol and a review of the literature.
Results: One patient with epilepsy had abnormal brain findings confined to the cerebral hemisphere homolateral to the facial hemiatrophy. These consisted of monoventricular enlargement, meningocortical dysmorphia, and white-matter changes.
Conclusions: These MR findings, and corresponding neuroradiologic data disclosed by the review, indicate that homolateral hemiatrophy occasionally occurs in a subgroup of patients with progressive facial hemiatrophy. The MR features do not seem consistent with an underlying simple or nutritive atrophic process. We propose chronic localized meningoencephalitis with vascular involvement as a possible underlying cause of the occasional brain involvement in progressive facial hemiatrophy.