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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

What is Ethmoid sinus disease?

01/25/2002

Question:

What is Ethmoid sinus disease? How serious a disease is it? What are symtoms and treatment? Thank You.

Answer:

The ethmoid sinuses are small pockets of air containing spaces in the nose. The ethmoids are like a honey comb of multiple small sinuses between the eye regions.

When the mucus membranes of these sinuses become inflamed or infected, such as from allergies, colds, viral or bacterial infections, this is referred to as ethmoid sinus disease.

Generally this is not a serious condition, however, if untreated it can lead to infection in some of the other sinuses, loss of smell, nasal blockage, headaches, nasal drainage and facial pressure. Occasionally, infection in the ethmoid sinuses can spread outside of the sinuses to involve either the eyes or the brain, however, this is fairly unusual.

Medical treatment generally consists of antibiotics, decongestants, and various nasal sprays. Occasionally if the symptoms can`t be controlled, surgery may be recommended to unblock these sinuses.

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Response by:

Thomas A Tami, MD Thomas A Tami, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati