Pediatric frontal mucocele secondary to a bifid frontal sinus septum

J Craniofac Surg. 2010 Sep;21(5):1525-8. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3181ef2d8f.


A mucocele is a mucus-containing sac lined with epithelium that arises within a sinus when its drainage is compromised. The frontal sinus is the most common location, with frontal mucocele development occurring when the nasofrontal duct becomes obstructed because of polyps, bone tumors, prior surgery, sinusitis, trauma, or anatomic variation. We report an unusual case of a sterile pediatric frontal mucocele presenting as a slowly enlarging forehead mass due to a bifid frontal sinus septum. A 9-year-old girl presented to the craniofacial clinic for evaluation of a right frontal mass that had been slowly growing over the past year. She was otherwise healthy and had no history of previous trauma or sinus infections. Computed tomography (CT) scan results revealed a localized frontal fluid collection with protrusion and thinning of the anterior frontal bone between 2 midline bony septii. Surgical cranialization of the frontal sinus was performed. The anatomy of her lesion seen both on CT scan and intraoperatively likely explains this unusual case presentation. Instead of the usual inciting event of an intact frontal sinus drainage system becoming blocked, this patient seemed to have a primary developmental lack of any drainage system that led to her mucocele. During formation of her frontal sinus, she developed a bifid septum within the midline that excluded a portion of her frontal sinus from the lateral nasofrontal ducts. With mucus-producing epithelium trapped within these bony confines, pressure began to mount with expansion and thinning of the bone both anteriorly and posteriorly. The lack of any infectious symptoms and sterile culture results may support that this space developed primarily and was never in continuity with the external drainage system. Only 4 other patients have been reported with asymptomatic forehead swelling as the only presenting symptom, with the age ranging from 33 to 79 years. This patient represents the first clinical report of a congenital developmental mucocele.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Forehead / surgery
  • Frontal Sinus / abnormalities*
  • Humans
  • Mucocele / diagnosis
  • Mucocele / etiology*
  • Mucocele / surgery
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / diagnosis
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / etiology*
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed