The otolaryngologist is frequently consulted for paranasal sinus disease which has been identified as an incidental finding on computed tomography (CT) in children. The significance of such a finding is difficult to interpret without prior knowledge of the actual incidence of chronic sinus mucosal hypertrophy in the general pediatric population.
In this study of pediatric CT scans from busy otolaryngology and ophthalmology clinics, the radiographic incidence of sinus disease in the general pediatric population is estimated. One hundred forty-two CT scans of the orbits and temporal bones obtained over an 18-month period were reviewed. Fifty-eight (41%) scans showed some mucosal thickening or opacification in at least one sinus. When patients were stratified by age, or by the presence or absence of chronic otitis media or respiratory tract disease, exclusive of clinical sinusitis, there was no statistical difference between groups.
The authors conclude that the asymptomatic child with an incidental paranasal sinus finding on CT scan need not be worked up further unless clinical symptoms and signs are elicited.