Focal opacification of the olfactory recess on sinus CT: Just an incidental finding?

Joseph M. Hoxworth, C. M. Glastonbury, N. J. Fischbein, W. P. Dillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The CT appearance of the anterior skull base has been investigated but with limited attention directed to the olfactory recess. As defined by opacity abutting the undersurface of the cribriform plate, the prevalence of olfactory recess opacity (ORO) on sinus CT was examined to clarify whether this should raise suspicion for an unsuspected pathologic process. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Outpatient sinus CTs were evaluated for ORO in 500 consecutive patients (mean age, 46.9 years; 52.6% women). On a per-side basis (n = 1000), the presence of surgical changes, inflammatory sinus disease, and concha bullosa was determined by 2 neuroradiologists. Logistic regression was used to examine the association of ORO with these variables. RESULTS: ORO was identified in 59 (11.8%) patients, bilateral in 27 (5.4%), and unilateral in 32 (6.4%). There were 343 of 1000 ethmoid sides that were diseased, and 66 (27.2%) showed ipsilateral ORO. In contrast, only 20 (3.0%) of 657 clear ethmoid sides showed ORO (P < .0001). ORO was significantly (P = .013) more common with previous surgery (18/75; 24.0%) than without (68/925; 7.4%). Ipsilateral concha bullosa was not associated with ORO. Of 32 patients with unilateral ORO, 5 (15.6%) had no ethmoid opacification or previous surgery, and 1 of these patients had an encephalocele causing the ORO. Finally, unilateral ORO was present in only 1 of 122 patients with completely clear sinuses (the encephalocele that was just mentioned). CONCLUSION: ORO is distinctly uncommon without sinonasal inflammation or previous surgery. Isolated unilateral ORO raises suspicion for an underlying neoplasm or cephalocele and warrants further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-897
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Focal opacification of the olfactory recess on sinus CT: Just an incidental finding?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this