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Surg Radiol Anat. 1997;19(3):189-91.

CT-anatomy of the nasolacrimal sac and duct.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Medical School, Graz, Austria.


Recent developments in ophthalmology such as balloon dilatation, stent implantation, laser therapy and endoscopy of the lacrimal drainage system raise the need for a detailed anatomical knowledge of this system. In this study morphometric measurements of the lacrimal drainage system were performed with thin-section axial computed tomography (CT) examinations in 147 patients with no signs of pathology related to the lacrimal drainage system. The mean length of the nasolacrimal duct measured 11.2 +/- 2.6 mm (range: 6-21 mm), the narrowest diameter was 3.7 +/- 0.7 mm (range: 2-7 mm). The mean length of the nasolacrimal sac was 11.8 +/- 2.5 mm (range: 6-18 mm). The width of the nasolacrimal sac did not exceed 4 mm unless filled with air. In 43 (29.3%) of the subjects air was visible within the nasolacrimal sac or duct. The knowledge of the morphometry of the lacrimal drainage system enables the ophthalmologist to plan intervention on the lacrimal drainage system precisely and avoid unnecessary manipulations.

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