Paranasal sinuses

Last revised by Calum Worsley on 17 Feb 2024

The paranasal sinuses usually consist of four paired air-filled spaces. They have several functions of which reducing the weight of the head is the most important. Other functions are air humidification and aiding in voice resonance. They are named for the facial bones in which they are located:

The paranasal sinuses are subject to marked variation between individuals and between sides in the same individual, regarding size (aeration) and bony septations.

Basic radiographic features are

Normal mucosa of the paranasal sinuses appear hyperintense on T2-weighted images 4.

The maxillary and ethmoidal sinuses are the first to develop, followed by frontal and sphenoidal sinuses 3.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: annotated CT
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  • Case 1: normal paranasal sinuses x-ray series
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  • Case 2: annotated CT
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  • Figure 2: paranasal sinus development (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Case 3: CT
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  • Figure 3: paranasal sinuses (Gray's illustrations)
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