What is the anatomy of the paranasal sinuses involved in acute sinusitis?

Updated: Apr 22, 2020
  • Author: Ted L Tewfik, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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The paranasal sinuses are air-filled bony cavities that extend from the skull base to the alveolar process and laterally from the nasal cavity to the inferomedial aspect of the orbit and the zygoma. They are lined with pseudostratified columnar epithelium that is contiguous, via ostia, with the lining of the nasal cavity. This epithelium contains a number of mucous-producing goblet cells. The arterial supply of the paranasal sinuses is from branches of the internal and external carotid arteries, while the venous and lymphatic drainage path is through the sinus ostia into the nasal cavity plexus. In addition, venous drainage occurs through valveless vessels corresponding to the arterial supply. The focal point of sinus drainage is the ostiomeatal complex, which is located in the middle meatus and is composed of the maxillary, frontal, and anterior ethmoid ostia. The posterior ethmoids empty into the superior meatus, and the sphenoids empty into the sphenoethmoidal recess.

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