Ethmoid sinus

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Ethmoidal sinus
Nnh front.svg
Coronal section of nasal cavities.
Nerve posterior ethmoidal nerve
Latin Cellulae ethmoidales,
labyrinthi ethmoidales
MeSH D005005
TA A06.1.03.005
FMA 84115
Anatomical terms of bone

The ethmoidal sinuses or ethmoidal air cells of the ethmoid bone are one of the four paired paranasal sinuses. They are a variable in both size and number of small cavities in the lateral mass of each of the ethmoid bones and cannot be palpated during an extraoral examination.[1] They are divided into the anterior, middle and posterior groups (see below). The ethmoidal air cells consist of numerous thin-walled cavities situated in the ethmoidal labyrinth and completed by the frontal, maxilla, lacrimal, sphenoidal, and palatine bones. They lie between the upper parts of the nasal cavities and the orbits, and are separated from these cavities by thin bony laminae.[2]

Groups of sinuses[edit]

The groups of the ethmoidal cells are air cells:[2]


The ethmoidal cells (sinuses) are not present at birth, however by 2 years of age they are recognisable through the use of Computerised Tomography (CT) scanning.[3]


The ethmoidal air cells receive sensory fibers from the anterior and posterior ethmoidal nerves, and the orbital branches of the pterygopalatine ganglion, which carry the postganglionic parasympathetic nerve fibers for mucous secretion from the facial nerve.

Haller cell[edit]

Haller cells are infraorbital ethmoidal air cells lateral to the lamina papyracea. These may arise from the anterior or posterior ethmoidal sinuses.


Ethmoid sinus cancer that has spread to the lungs
Ethmoid sinus cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes

Acute ethmoiditis in childhood and ethmoidal carcinoma may spread superiorly causing meningitis and cerebrospinal fluid leakage or it may spread laterally into the orbit causing proptosis and diplopia.[4]

Additional images[edit]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 154 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ Illustrated Anatomy of the Head and Neck, Fehrenbach and Herring, Elsevier, 2012, page 64
  2. ^ a b Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Anniko, Springer, 2010, page 188
  3. ^ Moore, K.L Et al(2014). Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Baltimore: Page960
  4. ^ Human Anatomy, Jacobs, Elsevier, 2008, page 210

External links[edit]