Haller cells

Last revised by Yuranga Weerakkody on 8 Mar 2022

Haller cells, also known as infraorbital ethmoidal air cells, are ethmoid air cells located lateral to the maxillo-ethmoidal suture along the inferomedial orbital floor. 

They are present in ~20% (range 2-45%) of patients, depending on their exact definition 1-3.

In most instances they are asymptomatic and (although some controversy exists 4,5) they are generally not thought to be associated with increased rates of sinusitis 3.

They may become clinically significant in a number of situations:

  • become infected, with the potential for extension into the orbit
  • may narrow the ipsilateral ostiomeatal complex (OMC) if large, thereby predisposing the ipsilateral maxillary antrum to obstruction 4
  • may lead to inadvertent entry into the orbit if unrecognised at endoscopic surgery 4

They are named after Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777) 6, Swiss anatomist and physiologist; he was a qualified medical doctor but was unsuccessful in clinical practice.

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