Radiographic characterization of the retroantral ethmoid cell.
BACKGROUND: The retroantral ethmoid cell (RAEC) is defined as a posterior ethmoid cell that pneumatizes inferolaterally behind the posterior wall of the maxillary sinus. The RAEC can present a challenge to otolaryngologists during endoscopic ethmoidectomy due to its concealed location. It is also encountered during the endoscopic transpterygoid approach to the skull base, which requires dissection behind the posterior wall of the maxillary sinus. Because the RAEC is not described in the literature, this study aims to better characterize this anatomic variant. METHODS: This is a retrospective review of 58 consecutive patients who underwent revision functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) within a 2-year period at a tertiary referral center. Sinus computed tomography (CT) scans for this cohort (116 sides total) were reviewed independently by 3 authors to determine the incidence of the RAEC and the degree of surgical dissection during prior surgery. RESULTS: Of the 116 sides included in the study, RAEC was identified in 19 (16%). Furthermore, 14 of 19 (74%) cells were diseased with evidence mucosal thickening or neo-osteogenesis. Of the 12 sides with RAEC that had evidence of previous posterior ethmoidectomy, 4 (33%) cells were not opened, 6 (50%) were partially opened, and only 2 (17%) were completely opened. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the relatively high prevalence of the RAEC in our patient population. The majority of RAECs showed both evidence of disease and that they were not completely opened during previous surgery. Recognition of this anatomic entity may allow for more thorough ethmoidectomy.
Chapurin, N; Honeybrook, A; Johnson, S; Wang, C; Jang, DW
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