Clinical significance of asymptomatic sinus abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997 Jun;123(6):602-4. doi: 10.1001/archotol.1997.01900060044007.


Objective: To investigate the prevalence of abnormalities of the paranasal sinus detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in asymptomatic subjects.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Outpatient clinic.

Patients: A total of 325 patients who underwent MRI for suspected intracranial disease. Of those, 257 patients lacked nasal or sinus symptoms.

Results: Sinus abnormalities were seen on MRI in 153 (47.1%) of 325 patients, including 107 (41.6%) of the 257 asymptomatic patients. Subjects older than 50 years had a significantly higher frequency of sinus abnormalities on MRI (49.8%) vs those younger than 50 years (39.5%) (P < .05). The maxillary sinus abnormality was observed in 99 patients (38.5%) and the ethmoid sinus abnormality was observed in 52 (20.2%) (P < .01). The most common abnormality was mucosal thickening in the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses.

Conclusion: A high prevalence of sinus abnormalities was detected in asymptomatic subjects on MRI.

MeSH terms

  • Ethmoid Sinus / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Maxillary Sinus / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies