Ethmoid sinus

The ethmoid sinuses or ethmoid air cells of the ethmoid bone are one of the four paired paranasal sinuses.[1] Unlike the other three pairs of paranasal sinuses which consist of one or two large cavities, the ethmoidal sinuses entail a number of small air-filled cavities ("air cells").[2] The cells are located within the lateral mass (labyrinth) of each ethmoid bone and are variable in both size and number.[1] The cells are grouped into anterior, middle, and posterior groups; the groups differ in their drainage modalities.[2]

Ethmoid sinus
Paranasal Sinuses ant.jpg
Frontal view of paranasal sinuses
Coronal section of nasal cavities.
Nerveposterior ethmoidal nerve
LatinCellulae ethmoidales,
labyrinthi ethmoidales
TA2728, 3180
Anatomical terms of bone


The ethmoid air cells consist of numerous thin-walled cavities in the ethmoidal labyrinth. They lie between the upper parts of the nasal cavities and the orbits, and are separated from these cavities by thin bony lamellae.[3]

The groups of the ethmoidal air cells drain into the nasal meatuses.[3]

The two groups are divided by the basal lamella. This is one of the bony divisions of the ethmoid bone and is mostly contained inside the ethmoid labyrinth. Medially the lamella becomes the bony part of the middle concha.[4]

Haller cellsEdit

Haller cells are infraorbital ethmoidal air cells lateral to the lamina papyracea. These may arise from the anterior or posterior ethmoidal sinuses.


The ethmoidal air cells receive sensory fibers from the anterior and posterior ethmoidal nerves, and the orbital branches of the pterygopalatine ganglion, which carry the postganglionic parasympathetic nerve fibers for mucous secretion from the facial nerve.


The ethmoidal cells (sinuses) and maxillary sinuses are present at birth.[5]

Clinical significanceEdit

Acute ethmoiditis in childhood and ethmoidal carcinoma may spread superiorly causing meningitis and cerebrospinal fluid leakage or it may spread laterally into the orbit causing proptosis and diplopia.[6]

Additional imagesEdit


  This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 154 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ a b Illustrated Anatomy of the Head and Neck, Fehrenbach and Herring, Elsevier, 2012, page 64
  2. ^ a b Morton, David A. (2019). The Big Picture: Gross Anatomy. K. Bo Foreman, Kurt H. Albertine (2nd ed.). New York. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-259-86264-9. OCLC 1044772257.
  3. ^ a b Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Anniko, Springer, 2010, page 188
  4. ^ Hechl, Peter S.; Setliff, Reuben C.; Tschabitscher, Manfred (1997). Endoscopic Anatomy of the Paranasal Sinuses. Springer Vienna. pp. 9–28. doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-6536-2_2. ISBN 978-3-7091-7345-9.
  5. ^ Moore, K.L Et al(2014). Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Baltimore: Page960
  6. ^ Human Anatomy, Jacobs, Elsevier, 2008, page 210

External linksEdit