If you have started to notice that the bony parts of your face and skull are feeling softer than normal bone in your or a loved one, you could be seeing signs of craniofacial fibrous dysplasia. This disorder mainly affects the face and skull, replacing your normal bone with fibrous-like tissue. Since this tissue isn’t dense like normal bone, it makes your face prone to fractures. How does craniofacial fibrous dysplasia occur?

Craniofacial Fibrous Dysplasia Overview

As mentioned above, this is a bone disease that replaces your normal bone with fibrous tissue that is brittle and susceptible to fractures. Craniofacial fibrous dysplasia is one type of fibrous dysplasia, a condition that affects the skeletal structure, especially the long bones in your legs and arms. However, craniofacial fibrous dysplasia affects the face and skull, and it can occur in one or several bones in your head.

This disease comes in two primary forms: monostotic and polyostotic. Monostotic fibrous dysplasia affects a single bone and is only active during a child’s growth, and it becomes inactive when the child reaches puberty. On the other hand, polyostotic fibrous dysplasia affects various bones and can remain active throughout your life. Both forms of craniofacial fibrous dysplasia appear in early childhood between 3 and 15 years.

This disease is more common in men than women, except for the McCune-Albright syndrome – a type of polyostotic fibrous dysplasia which affects women primarily. Unlike other types of fibrous dysplasia that affect bones, McCune-Albright syndrome affects bones and skin and is linked to hormonal imbalance.

Causes of Craniofacial Fibrous Dysplasia

Although the exact cause of craniofacial fibrous dysplasia is still unknown, some scientists suggest that it could result from a chemical deficiency in a particular bone protein. Others claim that a gene mutation causes this chemical defect at birth. However, there’s still no evidence showing this condition is hereditary.

Common Symptoms of Craniofacial Fibrous Dysplasia

Please note that everyone experiences the symptoms of craniofacial fibrous dysplasia differently. However, this condition can cause the following symptoms:

  • Facial asymmetry
  • An unstable facial structure
  • Visual and hearing problems
  • An obstructed nasal airway
  • A misaligned jaw and bite

Treatment

This condition can be treated through surgery and bone grafting. The surgeon will analyze the affected area and the severity of the disease to determine the most effective surgical option. If the affected bone is too essential to be removed (resection), it will be resized to normal. Both grafting and resection will be applied.