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Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 41, Issue 9, pp 1011–1018 | Cite as

Posterior ethmoid cell expansion towards the inferolateral region of the sphenoid sinus: a computed tomography study

  • Jinfeng LiuEmail author
  • Qitong Liu
  • Ningyu WangEmail author
Original Article
  • 69 Downloads

Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the anatomical imaging characteristics of posterior ethmoid cells (PEs) expanding towards the inferolateral region of the sphenoid sinus (SS).

Methods

This study included a total of 278 inpatients (556 sides) whose paranasal sinus computed tomography (CT) scans were reviewed and collected from May 2018 to February 2019. The anatomical imaging characteristics of PEs expanding towards the inferolateral region of the SS were observed.

Results

PEs expanding towards the inferolateral region of the SS formed an inferolateral spheno-ethmoid cell (ISEC). ISECs were observed on three sides (0.54%; 3/556) in three cases (1.08%; 3/278). All of the ISECs were present unilaterally on the right side of the SS. The ISECs originated from the most posterior ethmoid cell; they were first located at the medial aspect of the orbital apex, pneumatized continually backward to the inferomedial wall of the orbital apex, and then extended into the lateral region of the SS. The ISECs further extended laterally, inferiorly and posteriorly beyond the sphenoid body into the greater wing and/or pterygoid process.

Conclusion

An ISEC is a rare variation of ethmoid air cells. Preoperative recognition of ISECs is essential to achieve safe and effective endoscopic sinus surgery because of the important anatomical location.

Keywords

Ethmoid sinus Sphenoid sinus Anatomic variation Tomography X-ray Computed 

Abbreviations

EMS

Ethmoid maxillary sinus

ESS

Endoscopic sinus surgery

ICA

Internal carotid artery

ISEC

Inferolateral spheno-ethmoid cell

LRS

Lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus

MS

Maxillary sinus

OA

Orbital apex

PE

Posterior ethmoid cell

RMPE

Retromaxillary posterior ethmoid cell

SS

Sphenoid sinus

SOEC

Supraorbital ethmoid cell

Notes

Acknowledgements

The general work was supported by the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (7162066) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81271090/H1304).

Author contributions

JL discovered and identified this anatomical variation, analysed the clinical significance of this variation, and wrote the manuscript. NW and JL reconfirmed this anatomical variation together. QL completed the image editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no relevant competing interests to declare in relation to this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing Chaoyang HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Beijing Chaoyang HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina

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