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Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2012 Jun;129(3):125-30. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2011.10.002. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Sinus mucocele: natural history and long-term recurrence rate.

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Service d'ORL et de chirurgie cervico-faciale, hôpital européen Georges-Pompidou, faculté de médecine Paris-Descartes, université Paris V, 20, rue Leblanc, 75015 Paris, France.



To define the natural history, clinical signs, treatment and the modalities of medium- and long-term follow-up of patients operated for sinus mucocele.


Retrospective study of all patients operated for sinus mucocele between January 1993 and December 2009 (n=68). Demographic data, symptoms, medical imaging findings, surgical treatment and results were recorded.


The mean age of patients in this series was 53 years (range: 27-82 years, sex ratio: 3/2). The most common site was fronto-ethmoidal. Fifty-one patients (75%) had a history of sinus surgery, essentially for nasal polyposis. Only 15% of mucoceles occurred spontaneously. Presenting symptoms, in decreasing order of frequency, were facial pain or headache (38%), ocular or orbital complications (28%), while 20% of patients were asymptomatic. Surgery was performed by endonasal endoscopic sinus surgery (n=57, 84%) or via a combined, transfacial and endonasal approach, associated with navigation after January 2003. The mean follow-up was 7 years (range: 4 months-16 years). During this follow-up period, 23.5% of patients developed recurrence or a second mucocele after a mean interval of 4 years.


This study demonstrates the high recurrence rate of mucocele, particularly in multi-operated patients with chronic sinusitis. Long-term, regular, clinical and radiological follow-up is necessary to detect asymptomatic lesions prior to the onset of complications.

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