What is the function 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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Answer

The exact function of the paranasal sinuses is not well understood. The possible roles of the sinuses may include reducing the weight of the skull; dampening pressure; humidifying and warming inspired air; absorbing heat and insulating the brain; aiding in sound resonance; providing mechanical rigidity; and increasing the olfactory surface area.

The sinus mucosa has less secretory and vasomotor function than the nasal cavity does. Cilia are concentrated near and beat toward the natural sinus ostia. Blockage of the ostium results in stasis of mucous flow, which can lead to development of disease.


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