Surgical Anatomy of the Paranasal Sinuses

  • Yeşim Başal
  • Sema Başak
  • Jeffrey C. Bedrosian


The paranasal sinuses are air-filled cavities, located inside the bones of the skull, with their ostia opening into the nasal cavity. The maxillary, ethmoid, sphenoid and frontal sinus, ethmoid sinus, and sphenoid sinus are named after the bone in which they are located. The anatomy of the paranasal sinuses is quite complex and prone to individual variation; however, basic surgical anatomy should be understood in order to avoid complications. The maxillary sinus is the largest paranasal sinus. Some variations of the maxillary sinus should be considered prior to surgery.

Other anatomic variations of the maxillary sinus include maxillary hypoplasia and atelectasis.

The ethmoid sinus is considered a labyrinthine structure, due to its complexity and individual variations. It consists of 3–18 cells, having a honeycomb appearance. The anteroposterior distance is 4–5 cm and it has a height of 2–3 cm, while its width is 0.5 cm anteriorly and 1.5 cm posteriorly, and its volume is 14 ml on average. The sphenoid sinus is located in the corpus of the sphenoid bone, located at the center of the skull base. The right and left sphenoid sinuses are separated from each other by the intersinus septum. Its vertical diameter is 20 mm, its transverse diameter is 18 mm, its anteroposterior diameter is 21 mm, and its volume is approximately 7.5 ml. The frontal sinus has close embryological and anatomic relationship with the ethmoid sinuses. The right and left frontal sinuses develop independently of one another, and they are frequently asymmetrical. Dominancy, hypoplasia, aplasia, or extensive pneumatization may be identified.

This chapter aims to present the anatomy of paranasal sinuses, emphasizing their surgical anatomic characteristics.


Paranasal sinus Maxillary Ethmoid Sphenoid Frontal Pneumatization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yeşim Başal
    • 1
  • Sema Başak
    • 1
  • Jeffrey C. Bedrosian
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Medical FacultyAdnan Menderes UniversityAydınTurkey
  2. 2.Rhinology and Skull Base SurgerySpecialty Physician Associates, St. Luke’s Medical CentreBethlehemUSA

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