Frey’s Syndrome : Symptoms , Diagnosis, Causes and Management

Frey’s Syndrome : Symptoms , Diagnosis, Causes and Management

It is a neurological disorder resulting from damage to or near the parotid glands responsible for making saliva, and from damage to the facial nerve often from surgery .

The symptoms of Frey’s syndrome are redness and sweating on the cheek area adjacent to the ear. These symptoms generally appear when the affected person eats, sees, dreams, thinks about or talks about certain kinds of food which produce strong salivation. Observing sweating in the region after eating a lemon wedge may be diagnostic.

Symptoms

Redness (erythema)

Sweating in the cutaneous distribution of the auriculotemporal nerve usually in response to gustatory stimuli.

Sometimes it may be associated with pain in the same area, often of a burning nature. Between attacks of pain there is sometimes numbness or other altered sensations (anaesthesia or paraesthesia). This is sometimes termed “Gustatory Neuralgia”.

Causes

It is generally due to the side effects of a surgery of or near parotid glands or may be due to injury to the auriculotemporal nerve, which passes through the parotid gland. As a result of inappropriate regeneration, the parasympathetic nerve fibers may switch course to skin surface, resulting in “Gustatory sweating” or sweating in anticipation of eating, instead of the normal salivatory response.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be done by the doctor based on symptoms.

Management

There is no effective treatment, but various options are available :

  • Injection of Botulinum Toxin A
  • Surgical transection of misdirected nerve fibers (only a temporary treatment)
  • Application of an ointment containing an anticholinergic drug such as scopolamine

If symptoms persists, consult your doctor.

Complications

Frey’s syndrome causes hyperhidrosis; excessive perspiration from the skin. Features include:

  • Sweating
  • Skin maceration
  • Fissuring

References:

www.raredisease.info.nih.gov
www.webmd.com
www.parotid.net
www.rightdiagnosis.com

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