Paranasal sinus mycetoma

Paranasal sinuses mycetomas, or fungus balls, are indolent and non-invasive fungal colonization of the paranasal sinuses.  

Pathogenesis is thought to be a cascade of processes from insufficient mucociliary clearance leading to sinus colonization and chronic inflammatory response. The patient may only have a mild symptom or be asymptomatic. 

Commonly only a single sinus is affected by the predilection for the maxillary sinus followed by the sphenoid sinus. The frontal and ethmoid are less often affected. A clue to the diagnosis includes soft tissue density within the sinus with/without foci of calcific deposit. Postobstructive change may be observed if the mycetoma obstructs the sinus drainage pathway leading to partial or complete sinus opacification 2

Evidence of chronic inflammation with sclerosis and thickening of the wall of the paranasal sinuses. Careful evaluation of the sinus cavity is prudent to exclude bone erosion that is not a feature of mycetoma / chronic fungal sinusitis rather a feature of acute invasive fungal sinusitis 2.

MRI signal characteristics of mycetomas reflect the internal content of the mycelia, vegetative part of a fungus consisting of a conglomerate of hyphae. This contains primarily carbohydrates with some glycoproteins, macromolecular proteins, and iron and manganese.

  • T1: low signal
  • T2: low signal. The presences of paramagnetic elements further shorten the relaxation times, and this can be a highlight on the susceptibility weighted sequence 5
  • T1 C+ (Gd): chronic inflammatory change of the sinus mucosa may enhance
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Article information

rID: 19956
System: Head & Neck
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Fungus ball (paranasal sinus)
  • Sinus fungal mycetoma
  • Sinus mycetoma
  • Paranasal sinus mycetoma
  • Fungal mycetoma in sinuses
  • Fungal paranasal sinus mycetoma
  • Mycetoma in chronic fungal sinusitis

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 2
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