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Tiny mucus retention cyst or polyp in maxillary sinus, patchy ethmoid mucosal thickening. Done MRI. Can this cause headache?

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ENT Specialist
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what does it mean on an mri report when it says there is tiny mucous retention cyst or polyp in the left maxillary sinus and there is patchy ethmoid air cell mucosal thickening. The mastoid air cells are aerated. Could this be causing headaches?
Posted Wed, 20 Jun 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 3 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Tiny mucus retention cysts or polyps in the maxillary sinus do not require any treatment. Maxillary sinusitis may cause pain and tenderness mainly around the cheek and eye. Typically an afternoon or evening headache is present.

2. Patchy ethmoid mucosal thickening should be treated medically first. Ethmoid sinusitis may be the cause of your headaches if all other causes are ruled out along with the help of a neurologist and an eye specialist.

3. There are many other parameters visible in the scan images. If you can share your MRI images (not the report), I will be able to to give an accurate assessment. In MRI Scans, bone is not visible and soft tissue is seen very well. A plain CT Scan is of more value in Sinus CT as the bone is seen (though soft tissue is not clearly seen). Hence in many centers both these types of scans are done together depending upon the extent of the disease.

4. Mastoid air cells are normally aerated. If you have no ear complaints, this finding is not significant.

5. A recent concussion may cause unexplained headaches, if they have started after the injury.

6. From your description, you have very minimal sinus disease. Any link to headaches may be determined by detailed history of sinus symptoms such as nasal allergy, sneezing, nasal discharge, nasal obstruction and sinus tenderness. Certain conditions such as DNS (Deviated Nasal Septum), adenoids and nasal turbinate hypertrophy including concha bullosa must be ruled out. Direct examination of the nose helps.

7. At your age, the facial bones and skeleton has just about completed it's growth to the adult size. There are at many causes of headaches besides the nose and sinuses. A detailed description of the headaches such as onset, duration, type, severity, regions, associated symptoms, aggravating factors, relieving factors and so on often give an idea as to the exact cause of the headache.

8. Balloon Sinuplasty is the latest treatment for suspected sinus headaches.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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