Frey syndrome

Last revised by Francis Deng on 30 Dec 2020

Frey syndrome (also known as Baillarger syndromeDupuy syndrome, and auriculotemporal syndrome) is a complication of parotid surgery. It clinically manifests as sweating and reddening in the region of the face supplied by the auriculotemporal nerve. The symptoms typically occur when tasting food, especially piquant flavors.  

History and etymology

Frey syndrome was first described by the French neurologist and psychiatrist Jules Baillarger (1809-1890) in 1853 but his theory as to the cause was erroneous. Lucja Frey (1889-c.1942) 7, a Polish neurologist, working at the University of Warsaw, was the first to surmise in 1923 that it was a distinct pathological entity and correctly surmised that the intimate involvement of the auriculotemporal nerve was key to understanding the syndrome 2,4,6. The correct pathophysiology was elucidated by the French pediatric neurologist André-Thomas (1867-1963) 8 who formulated his aberrant regeneration theory, which was published in 1927 6. Curiously Dr. Thomas always insisted on having a hyphen between his first and last names 9

Tragically Lucja Frey was murdered by the Nazis, and her exact date of death is not known, but documentary evidence points strongly towards 1942, as very likely the year of her death 7.

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