Management of the lateral frontal sinus lesion and the supraorbital cell mucocele

Alexander G. Chiu, Winston C. Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Masses that radiographically appear in the lateral aspect of the frontal sinus can be difficult to access and often are approached through external approaches. Supraorbital ethmoid cells pneumatize the orbital plate of the ethmoid bone to lie posterior and lateral to the frontal sinus. Opacification of a supraorbital cell may radiographically give the appearance of a laterally based frontal sinus lesion. Often, these represent mucoceles, in which their drainage can be achieved through endoscopic techniques and without the need for an external approach. Methods: Retrospective review of patients treated for lateral frontal sinus lesions at a tertiary sinus center was performed. Radiology, endoscopic findings, operative reports, and patient symptoms were reviewed. Results: Ten patients were identified with lateral frontal sinus lesions based on radiography of the paranasal sinuses and nasal endoscopy. All patients were determined to be supraorbital mucoceles. These patients underwent surgical drainage using computer-aided endoscopic techniques. Initially, endoscopic drainage of the mucocele was successful in all patients. One patient was lost to follow-up after 3 months and one patient underwent a revision endoscopic surgery with trephination 5 months after the initial drainage. The remaining eight patients remain free of disease by nasal endoscopy and postoperative computed tomography scans (median follow-up of 25 months; range, 8-38 months). Conclusion: Knowledge of the anatomy of the ethmoid complex and presence of various cells within the frontal recess such as supraorbital cells are important in the management of the laterally based frontal sinus lesion. Often, these lesions may represent supraorbital cell mucoceles amenable to endoscopic drainage. Given the nature of mucoceles, long-term follow-up is needed before endoscopic drainage of these lesions can be validated. However, preliminary data suggest that an endoscopic approach provides for adequate drainage and helps avoid external approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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