Black turbinate sign (nasal cavity)

The black turbinate sign refers to an area of non-enhancing mucosa on MRI in a patient with angioinvasive fungal sinus infection / rhinocerebral mucormycosis.

Mucormycosis is caused by fungi that include MucorRhizopus, and Absidia species.  It is seen in diabetic and immunocompromised patients.

Fungal spores germinate to form angioinvasive hyphae that cause infarction of the surrounding tissue and invade the nasal mucosa.

The invaded tissue is non-enhancing on contrast-enhanced MRI and may show diffusion restriction. Non-infarcted sinusitis shows T1 post-contrast enhancement of the mucosa.

This sign is important for the early detection of mucormycosis so treatment may be initiated to reduce the chance of blindness and death which may occur within 2 weeks if left untreated.

See also

Share article

Article information

rID: 19404
System: Head & Neck
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.