|ECR 2016 / C-0735|
|Pathological consequences of anatomical variations in the sino-nasal region: how can radiologists help clinicians?|
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The nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses constitute an anatomical and functional unit covered by the same mucosa. They communicate via small openings and narrow ducts that allow both aeration and sinus drainage.
Paranasal sinuses develop in a certain sense as "diverticula of the nose”.
Pneumatization is preceded by the formation of "yellow bone marrow" and then by fluid-like content.
The lack of pneumatization is normal before 1 year.
At birth, maxillary and ethmoid sinuses may contain a little amount of air; the sphenoid sinus pneumatizes after 3 years and the frontal sinus after 6.
The regional anatomy of the paranasal sinuses is complex and includes normal anatomical variations, which are not necessarily pathological, but may contribute to the occurrence or persistence of chronic inflammatory diseases or be the source of difficulty during surgery.
For these reasons, appropriate radiologic imaging interpretation plays an important role in the management of these conditions.
Computed tomography (CT) is the imaging modality of choice in the definition of the paranasal sinuses anatomy and gives precious information about bone structures, sinus pneumatization and soft tissues,. Particularly, coronal CT sections can delineate the disease as well as the anatomic variations.
However, also magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provide excellent soft tissue discrimination and spatial resolution necessary for the diagnosis of sino-nasal disorders.