Frontal sinus fractures: a review of 72 cases

Laryngoscope. 1988 Jun;98(6 Pt 1):593-8. doi: 10.1288/00005537-198806000-00002.


A retrospective review is presented of 72 patients who sustained frontal sinus fractures (FSF) and were subsequently treated by the department of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery between the years of 1974 and 1986. Eighty-four percent of FSF occurred in males and 71% were a result of motor vehicle accidents. Only 24% remained conscious at the time of trauma, and in only one third of the cases was there no other fracture. Seventy-six percent of FSF involved both the anterior and posterior walls--a figure that possibly reflects the referral patterns to a hospital that is a major regional trauma center. Patients were treated with a variety of procedures including cranialization (42%), osteoplastic flap and fat obliteration (30%), open reduction and internal fixation of the anterior wall (20%), osteoplastic flap and sinus ablation (6%), and intersinus septectomy (1%). Some difficulty was encountered in documenting sustained follow-up, which ranged from 2 months to 9 years, and averaged 22 months. Nine percent of patients died in the post-trauma period. Minor complications were relatively common, but major complications occurred in only 10% of patients. Four patients (6%) suffered meningitis (although the portal of infection was not necessarily through the frontal sinus); one patient (1%) suffered severe pain over the sinus and forehead for at least 12 months after surgery; and a mucocele developed in four patients (6%).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Frontal Sinus / injuries*
  • Frontal Sinus / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skull Fractures / complications
  • Skull Fractures / surgery*