Emergency radiologic approach to sinus disease

Emerg Radiol. 2021 Oct;28(5):1003-1010. doi: 10.1007/s10140-021-01945-y. Epub 2021 May 19.


Sinus disease is commonly encountered, especially in the acute care setting. Imaging can support a diagnosis of sinusitis, help identify an etiology, and delineate intracranial and extracranial complications. Suspicion of complicated rhinosinusitis is an indication for contrast-enhanced computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. It is important for radiologists to be familiar with patient risk factors that predispose to uncommon but aggressive forms of sinus disease such as invasive fungal sinusitis. Lastly, many conditions, ranging from benign to malignant, can mimic rhinosinusitis clinically and on imaging. Radiologists can help by recognizing these entities and facilitating appropriate referral and follow-up. This article reviews the breadth of sinus disease commonly encountered in the emergency setting, potential complications, and mimics.

Keywords: Acute sinusitis; Atopic disease; Chronic sinusitis; Invasive fungal sinusitis; Sinus disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Risk Factors
  • Sinusitis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed