Neurofibromatosis (NF1 and NF2)

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Symptoms of Neurofibromatosis

Neurofibromatosis can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms depending on the severity of the condition. The manifestations of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF 1) generally appear in early childhood and affect the skin, eyes, bones, veins, and nerves. Symptoms include:

  • Cafe-au-lait spots (light brown patches of pigment on the skin)
  • Freckles in the underarm or groin area
  • Neurofibromas (benign skin tumors that may also be found on nerves and organs)
  • Lisch nodules (small tumors on the iris), or glaucoma
  • Hearing loss
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Scoliosis or other bone abnormalities
  • Facial pain or numbness
  • Learning disabilities or hyperactivity
  • Rarely, brain tumors or aneurysms


Symptoms of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) often don’t appear until adolescence or early adulthood and include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Headaches
  • Vision changes
  • Cataracts
  • Problems with facial movements
  • Difficulty with balance and walking
  • Seizures
  • Neurofibromas and cafe-au-lait spots


Neurofibromatosis, whether Type 1 or Type 2, is a complicated disorder that is best treated at a major medical center with a multidisciplinary Neurofibromatosis Program that ensures each patient a comprehensive treatment plan.

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Reviewed by: Jeffrey Greenfield, Ph.D., M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: January 2015