Body structure of the Paranasal Sinuses

The particular hollow air spaces in the body are known as sinuses. There are about 60 sinuses spread throughout your body. Once you think of “sinusitis” or “sinus infection”, you are talking about the paranasal sinuses. Each of the paranasal sinuses has an opening (ostium) into the nasal cavity. To work normally and stay healthy, each nose cavity must be able to drain mucus and exchange air through these types of openings.

The paranasal sinuses consist of:

Ethmoid sinuses
Frontal sinuses
Maxillary sinuses
Sphenoid sinuses
The Ethmoid Sinuses are located behind the bridge of the nose in the ethmoid bone. These sinuses consist of 6-12 thin-walled cavities. These are divided directly into anterior, middle and posterior groupings. The posterior group drains in to the nasal cavity towards the rear. Sometimes one or more of the posterior group opens into the sphenoid sinus. The middle group and anterior group drain in to the middle of the nasal cavity.

The Frontal Sinuses are located behind your eyebrows in the frontal bone. They can differ in size from left to right and in about 5% of people they are not present at all. The frontal sinuses are absent at birth, yet are well-developed by age 7, and reach their full size around puberty. The frontal sinuses drain into the middle part of the nose cavity.

The Maxillary Sinuses are the largest of the paranasal sinuses. These are located behind each cheekbone and are roughly triangular in shape. The maxillary sinuses drain into the middle k?rester t of the nasal cavity. The opening into the nasal cavity is located high up on the sinus wall that sinuses do not drain well with all the head upright.

The Sphenoid Sinuses consist of one or two sinuses located heavy behind the bridge of the nasal area in the sphenoid bone. These sinuses drain into the back part of the nasal tooth cavity. The openings of the sphenoid sinuses are also located high on sinus wall structure and do not drain well when the head is upright.

The sinus lining is composed of epithelium cells (with and without cilia), goblet cells, and basal cells. There are also wandering immune cellular material present (lymphocytes and mast cells). The sinus lining forms a physical barrier that keeps germs, pollutants and allergens from entering our bloodstream and tissues.

The sinus lining also produces nasal mucus from the goblet cells.
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This nasal mucus traps the pollutants, bacteria plus allergens. The mucus also has particular antibodies and enzymes that;

prevent viruses and bacteria from sticking with the sinus lining
help the white blood cells to recognize infections and bacteria as invaders and also to kill them
The ciliated epithelial cells work together to sweep out the mucus that has foreign components and microorganisms. This process is known as mucociliary clearance. These ciliated cells are very sensitive to humidity, pollutants and toxins. If they don’t function well, we are able to expect sinus infections to occur.

The objective of the sinuses is unknown, yet here are some of the possible functions:

Makes the front of the skull lighter
The actual voice more resonant
Provide a crumple zone for facial blows
Defends the eyes and teeth through rapid temperature changes
Heating plus moistening incoming air


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