Histopathological Features of Orofacial Granulomatosis

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Orofacial granulomatosis (OFG) is characterized by granulomatous inflammation in the orofacial region. Although several series have been reported, biopsy has not been performed in all cases and the histopathological features have not been extensively evaluated. Our purpose was to analyze the histopathological features of our patients with OFG. Twenty-two patients diagnosed with OFG at Bellvitge Hospital (Barcelona, Spain) from 1985 to 2010 were included in the study. All of our patients (14 men and 8 women; mean age 46.77 years, SD 13.61) presented with labial swelling, involving the upper lip in 13 cases and the lower lip in 9 at presentation. Fissured tongue was observed in 9 cases. Three patients suffered facial palsy. Granulomas were observed in 16 patients. All patients showed a perivascular, lymphohistiocytic inflammatory infiltrate with prominent plasma cells in 21 cases. In 5 cases, mast cells were easily observed. In 13 patients, an interstitial infiltrate was also present. All cases showed dilated lymphatic channels, and 19 edema of the lamina propria or the dermis. Perilymphatic granulomas were observed in 12 cases, intralymphatic granulomas in 2, and intralymphatic histiocytes in 2. In conclusion, loose epithelioid cells or lymphonodular granulomas were observed in 73% of our patients. Although none of our patients developed Crohn disease, OFG is histopathologically similar to cutaneous lesions of Crohn disease. The perilymphatic disposition of granulomas and the presence in some cases of intralymphatic histiocytes or intralymphatic granulomas may explain the dilatation of lymphatic vessels and the development of edema.

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