Diagnosis and pathology of unilateral maxillary sinus opacification with or without evidence of contralateral disease

Brian A. Kaplan, Stilianos E Kountakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: Determine the diagnostic criteria and etiology of complete unilateral maxillary sinus opacification. Methods: A prospective analysis was performed on patients presenting to a tertiary care rhinology practice with complaints of chronic rhinosinusitis or acute exacerbation. Sixty-four consecutive patients were identified with unilateral maxillary sinus opacification on computed tomography (CT) scan after at least a 3-week medical therapy for rhinosinusitis. The study population comprised 30 men and 34 women with a mean age of 47.0 years. All patients completed a symptom score questionnaire, received nasal endoscopy, and CT imaging. Patient symptoms and endoscopic and radiographic findings were analyzed to determine patterns related to final diagnosis. Results: All 64 patients underwent functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Each surgical specimen was sent for pathologic confirmation of the diagnosis. Sixteen mucoceles, 12 cases of nasal polyposis, 27 cases of acute of or chronic sinusitis, 7 cases of inverting papilloma, and 2 cases of mycetoma were identified. Endoscopic and radiographic appearances were correlated with each disease process. Conclusion: Unilateral maxillary sinus opacification is a relatively common finding. Early identification of inverting papillomas and mucoceles may avoid delay in surgical intervention, whereas acute/chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyposis can initially be managed medically. Careful history, endoscopic examination, and radiographic studies can often determine the responsible disease process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-985
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Maxillary sinus
  • Mucocele
  • Sinus surgery
  • Sinusitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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