Complications of rhinosinusitis

  • Kafui Searyoh University of Cape Town
  • Dalene Lubbe University of Cape Town
Keywords: rhinosinusitis, complications


Sinusitis may be complicated by the spread of infection beyond the normal bony confines of the sinuses.  Antibiotic use is now widespread in the treatment of infections of the nose and paranasal sinuses. However, host factors, bacterial pathogenicity and late presentation continue to adversely affect outcomes of otherwise common infections within the paranasal sinuses. Acute complicated sinusitis can result in severe and potentially life-threatening complications causing functional and social disabilities. Intracranial spread of infection has a high mortality despite the use of antibiotics.

Complications of rhinosinusitis are classified as orbital, intracranial and osseous. Some unusual complications namely lacrimal gland abscess, mucocoeles and nasal septal perforations have been reported.

Adequate treatment of acute infections, a high index of suspicion of impending complications, prompt diagnosis and appropriate therapeutic intervention will positively impact on outcomes of patients who present with sinusitis.

Author Biographies

Kafui Searyoh, University of Cape Town

MBChB, FWACS, FGCS-ORL, Clinical Fellow, Division of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Cape Town

Dalene Lubbe, University of Cape Town

MBChB (Stell), FCORL(SA), Associate Professor, Division of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Cape Town

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