The association between supraorbital ethmoid air cells and orbital proptosis in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis

Brett T. Comer, Nathan W. Kincaid, Stilianos E Kountakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Orbital proptosis is a known possible complication in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). This study was undertaken to determine the association of sinus anatomy and anatomic variants with the predisposition for such a complication. Methods: All adult patients (n = 16) with orbital proptosis were identified from a prospectively-collected database at a tertiary institution. These were compared with a series of randomly-selected patients (n = 50) diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and who had undergone sinus computed tomography. The presence or absence of supraorbital ethmoid air cells (SOECs) was noted and compared between the 2 groups. The primary sinus anatomy responsible for the proptosis was also identified. Statistical analysis was performed using the chi squared test. Results: Sixteen patients with orbital proptosis were identified, of which all but 1 had SOECs present. Causal analysis showed that in all but 1 case the SOECs were the cause of proptosis. Of the 50 patients with CRS but without proptosis, only 13 had SOECs present and 37 patients did not (chi squared = 22.8, p = 0.000002). Conclusion: SOECs appear to be highly associated with and most often are responsible for orbital proptosis in patients with CRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-149
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013


  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Computed tomography
  • Frontal sinusotomy
  • Imaging
  • Orbital/ocular
  • Paranasal sinus diseases
  • Sinus anatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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