The term ‘neurofibromatosis’ (NF) is used in a general way to describe two completely separate genetic conditions, caused by different faulty genes. The two different types of neurofibromatosis are NF1 and NF2.
NF1, or von Recklinghausen’s disease, is the most common and is an inherited disorder.
NF2 is less common than NF1. NF1 and NF2 are caused by different faulty genes, which may be inherited or may have spontaneously mutated at conception.
NF1 is a very common genetic condition. It affects about 1 in 3,000 people. It was first described in 1882 by a German doctor named Frederich von Recklinghausen. This is why the condition used to be known as von Recklinghausen’s disease.
NF2 develops later, is less common and causes non-cancerous tumours to develop.