Frontal recess anatomy can be very complex, with accessory cells such as frontal, agger nasi, and intersinus septal cells encroaching on the frontal recess and possibly contributing to obstruction of the frontal sinus. In this study, we determined the prevalence of these cells and their relationship to frontal sinusitis in patients who have (revision group) and have not (primary group) had previous sinus surgery.
Multiplanar computed tomographic images were reconstructed on a computer workstation to determine the presence of frontal, agger nasi, and intersinus septal cells and frontal sinusitis. We also measured the diameter and area of the frontal isthmus for each sinonasal cavity. We were able to retrieve 106 of 117 images from a surgical database encompassing the previous 2 years.
Tertiary care academic practice of the senior author.
Frontal cells were found in 25.5% of frontal recesses, including 29.6% of sides in the primary group and 21.9% of sides in the revision group. We identified 33.0% of patients as having unilateral or bilateral frontal cells. Type I cells were the most common cell (18.4% of primary sinuses). The presence of frontal sinusitis and the diameter and area of the frontal isthmus were not significantly different for those patients with compared with patients without frontal cells. Intact agger nasi cells were identified in 86.7% of primary sinuses and 53.5% of revision sinuses. There was no increased incidence of frontal sinusitis in patients with persistent agger nasi cells in the revision group.
When we evaluated multiplanar reconstructions, we identified frontal cells in 33.0% of patients overall, which was more common than previously reported. The findings of agger nasi cells indicated that these cells were likely addressed in less than half of previous sinus procedures. However, frontal cells and retained agger nasi cells were not associated with a higher incidence of frontal sinusitis, and there was no association between the size of the frontal isthmus and the presence of frontal sinusitis. Although anatomic variations in the frontal recess are likely to play a role in frontal sinusitis, mucosal inflammatory processes are likely to be a much more important etiologic factor.