Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Nasal Congestion Anatomy

To better understand nasal or sinus congestion, it helps to understand the anatomy of the sinuses.

The sinuses are open cavities inside the bones of the face. Sinuses are located between the eyes, under the cheekbones, and in the forehead. They are connected by small channels that run between the sinuses. Normally, the sinuses do not contain fluid. There are four main sinus cavities.

The four main sinuses include:

  • Frontal sinuses:
    • Located behind the eyebrows
  • Ethmoid sinuses:
    • Deep sinuses are located behind the eyes and over the nose
  • Maxillary sinuses:
    • Two sinuses are on either side of the nose, behind the cheekbones
  • Sphenoid sinus:
    • Located deep in the face, at the base of the brain

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Nasal Congestion References
  1. Bhattacharyya N. Clinical and symptom criteria for the accurate diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis. Laryngoscope. 2006 Jul;116(7 Pt 2 Suppl 110):1-22. [16826087]
  2. Corey JP, Houser SM, Ng BA. Nasal congestion: a review of its etiology, evaluation, and treatment. Ear Nose Throat J. 2000 Sep;79(9):690-3, 696, 698. [11011488]
  3. Eccles R, Jawad MS, Jawad SS, Angello JT, Druce HM. Efficacy and safety of single and multiple doses of pseudoephedrine in the treatment of nasal congestion associated with common cold Am J Rhinol. 2005 Jan-Feb;19(1):25-31. [15794071]
  4. Moller C, Ahlstrom H, Henricson KA, Malmqvist LA, Akerlund A, Hildebrand H. Safety of nasal budesonide in the long-term treatment of children with perennial rhinitis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2003 Jun;33(6):816-22. [1280131]
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