Microbiology, Histopathology, and Radiographic Findings in Silent Sinus Syndrome

Henry D. Zheng, Jeffrey C. Mecham, Yassmeen Abdel-Aty, Devyani Lal, Michael J. Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The histopathology and microbiology associated with silent sinus syndrome (SSS) have not been well described. Objective: This study details the histopathological and microbiological characteristics in addition to radiographic findings of SSS in comparison to those of chronic maxillary sinusitis (CRS). Methods: 42 patients diagnosed with SSS at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona were identified. Paranasal computed tomography scans of the 42 SSS patients as well as 42 matched CRS patients were analyzed in order to assess differences in the prevalence of septal spurs/deviation. 20 of the SSS patients and 19 of the matched CRS patients also had histopathology and microbiology reports, which were compiled and summarized. Additionally, 19 SSS and 19 matched CRS patients were contacted via phone survey for a more complete patient history regarding maxillary dental disease/surgery. Results: SSS patients have a significantly higher prevalence of septal spurs/deviation than CRS patients. The microbiomes of SSS patients more closely resemble those of healthy controls than those of CRS patients. Analysis of the histopathology of SSS reveals chronic, non-specific inflammation similar to that seen in non-eosinophilic CRS without polyps. SSS patients were significantly more likely to have a history of maxillary dental disease requiring surgery. Conclusion: These data support the hypothesis that the pathogenesis of SSS is more likely due to anatomical/mechanical factors than inflammatory/microbiological factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-692
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • chronic rhinosinusitis
  • computed tomography
  • endoscopic sinus surgery
  • histopathology
  • microbiology
  • odontogenic sinusitis
  • radiology
  • septal deviation
  • septal spur
  • silent sinus syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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