Which mechanical obstructions may lead to ostial blockage and sinusitis (sinus infection)?

Updated: Mar 01, 2018
  • Author: Itzhak Brook, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Mechanical obstruction because of nasal polyps, foreign bodies, deviated septa, or tumors can also lead to ostial blockage. In particular, anatomical variations that narrow the ostiomeatal complex, including septal deviation, paradoxical middle turbinates, and Haller cells, make this area more sensitive to obstruction from mucosal inflammation. Usually, the margins of the edematous mucosa have a scalloped appearance, but in severe cases, mucus may completely fill a sinus, making it difficult to distinguish an allergic process from infectious sinusitis. Characteristically, all of the paranasal sinuses are affected and the adjacent nasal turbinates are swollen. Air-fluid levels and bone erosion are not features of uncomplicated allergic sinusitis; however, swollen mucosa in a poorly draining sinus is more susceptible to secondary bacterial infection.


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