‘Factitious illness’ is a recently classified group of diseases characterized by repeated purposeful simulation of physical or mental illness in order to obtain medical or psychiatric treatment. ‘Münchausen Syndrome’ is a classical example of this group.
The case reported is a 26-year-old Caucasian male who presented with recurrent facial swelling between December 1978 and November 1987. His true condition eluded diagnosis for so long because he presented repeatedly with overt clinical signs which appeared severe enough to justify the symptoms claimed.
(Accepted March 29 1989)
c1 Squadron Leader M. R. Thomas F.R.C.S. (Ed.), c/o ENT Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital, RAF Wroughton, Swindon SN4 0QN