Incidental findings in MRI of the paranasal sinuses in adults: a population-based study HUNT MRIReportar como inadecuado

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BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

, 14:13

First Online: 25 November 2014Received: 30 June 2014Accepted: 12 November 2014


BackgroundDiagnostic imaging of the head is used with increasing frequency, and often includes the paranasal sinuses, where incidental opacifications are found. To determine the clinical relevance of such findings can be challenging, and for the patient such incidental findings can give rise to concern if they are over-reported. Studies of incidental findings in the paranasal sinuses have been conducted mostly in patients referred for diagnostic imaging, hence the prevalence in the general population is not known. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and size of incidental opacification in the paranasal sinuses in a non-selected adult population using magnetic resonance imaging MRI without medical indication, and to relate the results to sex and season.

MethodsRandomly and independent of medical history, 982 participants 518 women with a mean age of 58.5 years range, 50–66 underwent MRI of the head as part of a large public health survey in Norway. The MRIs included 3D T1 weighted volume data and 2D axial T2 weighted image WI. Opacifications, indicating mucosal thickenings, polyps, retention cysts, or fluid, were recorded if measuring more than 1 mm.

ResultsOpacifications were found in 66% of the participants. Mucosal thickenings were found in 49%, commonly in the maxillary sinuses 29% where 25% had opacifications that were less than 4 mm in size. Other opacifications occurred in the anterior ethmoid 23%, posterior ethmoid 21%, frontal sinus 9%, and sphenoid 8%. Polyps and retention cysts were also found mainly in the maxillary sinuses in 32%. Fluid was observed in 6% of the MRIs. Mucosal thickening was observed more frequently in men than in women P <0.05. No seasonal variation was found.

ConclusionsIn this large non-selected sample, incidental opacification in the paranasal sinuses was seen in two out of three participants, and mucosal thickening was seen in one out of two. Fluid was rare. Knowledge of incidental opacification is important because it can affect clinical practice.

KeywordsIncidental findings Paranasal sinuses MRI Opacification Mucosal thickening Polyps Retention cysts Fluid Population-based study AbbreviationsMRIMagnetic resonance imaging

MPRAGEMagnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo

FLAIRFluid attenuated inversion recovery

TOFTime of flight, mm: millimeter.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6815-14-13 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Aleksander Grande Hansen - Anne-Sofie Helvik - Ståle Nordgård - Vegard Bugten - Lars Jacob Stovner - Asta K Håberg - M


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