Some historical aspects of the surgical treatment of the infected maxillary sinus

Rhinology. 1991 Jun;29(2):155-62.


Sinus surgery probably originates from the time of the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt. Instruments were used to remove the brain through the nose as a part of the mummification process. The interest in the pathology of the maxillary sinus started to rise in the 17th century. Antral trephination for suppuration was the most common maxillary sinus operation in that period. An oro-antral fistula was often created by the extraction of a molar to drain the infected maxillary sinus daily. Later on the anterior wall of the maxillary sinus was opened through the canine fossa and was kept open for irrigation. Caldwell (1893), Scanes Spicer (1894) and later Luc in 1897 closed the canine fossa incision after an intranasal antrostomy and the removal of the infected mucosa. This so-called Caldwell-Luc procedure is still the most commonly used maxillary sinus operation today. After the introduction of the endoscopy in the beginning of this century endonasal surgery has been developed in the last decades into one of the important surgical procedures for maxillary sinus infections today.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • General Surgery / history
  • Greece
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Maxillary Sinus / surgery*
  • Maxillary Sinusitis / history*
  • United States