Silent Sinus Syndrome Secondary to Lymphoma: An Unusual Case With Radiological Evidence of Rapid Progression

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2022 Aug;131(8):918-922. doi: 10.1177/00034894211047103. Epub 2021 Sep 18.


Objective: To describe a case of silent sinus syndrome secondary to malignancy and discuss the pertinent clinical findings. Silent Sinus Syndrome (SSS) refers to a rare, asymptomatic condition whereby occlusion of the maxillary sinus ostium results in gradual resorption of air, creation of negative pressure and collapse of the maxillary walls.

Methods: Review of medical records and literature review using NCBI/PubMed.

Results: We describe a case of a 54-year-old gentleman presenting solely with enophthalmos. He had been diagnosed with stage IVa small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) 1.5 years prior to this, which was being managed with active surveillance. CT demonstrated severe bowing of the anterior and posterolateral wall, inferior displacement of the floor of the orbit and right enophthalmos, thus supporting a diagnosis of silent sinus syndrome. Compared to previous staging CT at the time of the lymphoma diagnosis these findings were entirely new, and soft tissue in the pterygomaxillary fissure was found to be enlarged. The patient underwent endoscopic sinus surgery and a right maxillary mega-antrostomy was performed to ventilate the maxillary sinus and prevent progression of eye symptoms. A biopsy was taken from the pterygopalatine fossa, which was confirmed to be chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Conclusion: This case is unique both in being secondary to malignancy, as well as being rapidly progressive given the presence of radiologically normal appearances 1.5 years prior to presentation. Although a rare condition, prompt recognition of SSS is vital to prevent ophthalmological complications. This report highlights malignancy as a potential cause in cases with focal bony remodeling.

Keywords: enophthalmos; leukemia; orbital complications; silent sinus syndrome; sinus surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Enophthalmos* / diagnosis
  • Enophthalmos* / etiology
  • Enophthalmos* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma* / pathology
  • Male
  • Maxillary Sinus / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases* / surgery
  • Syndrome