Osteitis fibrosa cystica (OFC) is the most frequent type of osseous change in renal osteodystrophy affecting the majority of dialysis patients. Brown tumors are a severe form of OFC. The involvement of the craniofacial skeleton causing facial disfigurement in patients on dialysis appears to be limited to case reports. After searching PubMed, we performed a systematic review of 127 cases with a severe form of OFC resulting in a facial disfigurement to understand possible determinants for this condition. We found that since the first published case in 1974, and after a peak in 1996, there appears to be an increase in published reported cases. Only 27.6% of these cases were published in nephrology journals. The most common region for reported cases was North America. Mean age of these patients was 31.2 years with a mean dialysis duration of 7 years. Almost 67% were women, and almost all were on hemodialysis. The disease tended to most commonly localize to the maxilla (73.2%) and mandible (57.5%). As part of the treatment, 59% of patients had a parathyroidectomy. More than one-third (35.4%) had symptomatic improvement at follow-up. Mean follow-up was 1.6 years. Clinicians should be aware of this clinical presentation of a severe form of OFC and/or brown tumors. Timely diagnosis and intervention may help to prevent or decrease destructive bone changes and reduce negative psychological consequences of facial disfigurement.
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