Vol 80, No 4 (2021)
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Published online: 2020-09-24

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Extensive pneumatisation of the sphenoid bone: anatomical investigation of the recesses of the sphenoid sinuses and their clinical importance

J. Jaworek-Troć12, J. A. Walocha1, M. Loukas3, R. S. Tubbs4, J. Iwanaga4, J. Zawiliński1, K. Brzegowy1, J. J. Zarzecki5, A. Curlej-Wądrzyk6, E. Kucharska7, F. Burdan8, P. Janda1, M. P. Zarzecki1
Pubmed: 33084012
Folia Morphol 2021;80(4):935-946.


Background: There is a great variance between the extents of pneumatisation of the sphenoid sinuses that can reach beyond the body of the sphenoid bone. The purpose of this study was to find the prevalence of the recesses of the sphenoid sinuses in Polish adult population.
Materials and methods: Two hundred ninety-six computed tomography (CT) scans of patients who did not present any pathology in the sphenoid sinuses were evaluated in this retrospective analysis. Spiral CT scanner (Siemens Somatom Sensation 16) was used to glean the medical images. Standard scan procedure was applied, with Siemens CARE Dose 4D option enabled. No contrast medium was administered.
Results: In the majority of the patients (93.92%), the pneumatisation of the sphenoid sinuses expanded beyond the body of the sphenoid bone; hence, there were recesses of the sinuses present. The most common variant was the presence of two recesses — 12.84% of cases. The prevalence of all the 17 recesses was only 0.34%. Amongst the uneven recesses present, the sphenoidal rostrum’s recess (61.15% of the patients) and the inferior clinoid recess (56.42%) were the most common. Amongst the even recesses present, the lateral recess was prevalent in the majority (65.88%), whereas the posterior clinoid process’ recess was the least common (9.8%).
Conclusions: Presence of the recesses might facilitate access to the cranial fossae; hence, comprehensive evaluation of the sphenoid sinuses is of immense importance in order to avoid unnecessary drills through the hard bone, which could potentially damage the nearby neurovascular structures.

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