Acute sinusitis

Dr Dan J Bell and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Acute sinusitis is an acute inflammation of the paranasal sinus mucosa that lasts less than four weeks and can occur in any of the paranasal sinuses. If the nasal cavity mucosa is also involved then the term rhinosinusitis may be used.

Fever, headache, postnasal discharge of thick sputum, nasal congestion and an abnormal sense of smell.

Usually following a viral upper respiratory tract infection. Dental caries, periapical abscess and oroantral fistulation lead to a spread of infection to the maxillary sinus. Cystic fibrosis and allergy are risk factors.

Other anatomical variants that may predispose to the inflammation include nasal septal deviation, a spur of the nasal septum and/or frontoethmoidal recess variants.

Opacification of the sinuses and air/fluid level best seen in the maxillary sinus. Cannot assess the extent of inflammation and its complications.

Better anatomical delineation and assessment of inflammation extension, causes and complications. Peripheral mucosal thickening, air/fluid level, air bubbles within the fluid and obstruction of the ostiomeatal complexes are recognised findings.

T1WI can differentiate between the mucosal thickening that is isointense to soft tissue and fluid that is hypointense. They are both hyperintense in T2WI. Inflamed mucosa enhances in post-contrast study while the fluid does not.

Conservative medical treatment until the inflammation subsides and treatment of the cause, e.g. dental caries. If it becomes chronic sinusitis, functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) may be considered.​

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Article information

rID: 4896
System: Head & Neck
Section: Gamuts
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Sinusitis - acute

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: maxillary sinusitis
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    Case 2: acute maxillary sinusitis
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    Case 3: with Pott's puffy tumour
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    Case 4: acute maxillary sinusitis - MRI
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    Case 5: with subperiosteal orbital abscess
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    Coronal
    Case 6: with subperiosteal orbital abscess
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    Case 7: acute maxillary sinusitis
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    Case 8: with periapical abscess
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    Case 9
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    Case 10: odontogenic sinusitis
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