Frontonasal dysplasia

Last revised by Dr Tom Foster on 09 Mar 2020

Frontonasal dysplasia, also known as median cleft face syndrome, is a rare disorder characterized by midline defects involving the face, head, and central nervous system.

Frontonasal dysplasia is considered to be a very rare condition, with approximately 100 cases having been reported in the literature 8.

Clinical features are extremely varied and can be present in any combination or severity. Commonly described features include 8,9:

The exact pathogenesis is unknown but it is possible that a primary neural crest migration defect or a fetal ischemic episode inhibiting cell migration act as an initial event. Some authors consider this condition to be a less severe manifestation of the holoprosencephaly spectrum.

Most cases are sporadic although rare familial cases have been described 8.

Radiographic features, similar to the clinical presentation, are highly variable and can be detected prenatally. See individual articles for detailed characteristics of each possible defect.

No specific treatment is available. Surgical intervention is often required for midline facial defects 9.

The term 'frontonasal dysplasia' was introduced by H O Sedano et al. in 1970 to describe a group of patients with midline facial clefting 7.

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