Main content area

Radiographic, computed tomographic and surgical anatomy of the equine sphenopalatine sinus in normal and diseased horses

Tucker, R., Windley, Z. E., Abernethy, A. D., Witte, T. H., Fiske‐Jackson, A. R., Turner, S., Smith, L. J., Perkins, J. D.
Equine veterinary journal 2016 v.48 no.5 pp. 578-584
biopsy, blindness, bone resorption, computed tomography, hematoma, horses, image analysis, neoplasms, nose, observational studies, radiography, resection, retrospective studies, sinuses, tissues
REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: Knowledge of imaging anatomy, surgical anatomy and disorders affecting the sphenopalatine sinus are currently lacking. OBJECTIVES: To describe the computed tomographic (CT) and surgical anatomy of the sphenopalatine sinus and diagnosis, treatment and outcome in clinical cases with sphenopalatine sinus disease. STUDY DESIGN: Cadaver observational study and retrospective case series. METHODS: The sphenopalatine sinuses of 10 normal cadaver heads were examined with digital radiography, CT and sinoscopic examination prior to anatomical sectioning. Sphenopalatine sinus anatomy was described and compared between cadaver specimens across the imaging modalities. Medical records (January 2004–2014) of cases diagnosed with sphenopalatine sinus disease were reviewed. RESULTS: The anatomy of the sphenopalatine sinus was variable. The borders of the sphenopalatine sinus were not identifiable on plain radiographs, whereas CT provided useful anatomical information. The palatine portion of the sphenopalatine sinus was consistently accessible sinoscopically and the sphenoidal portion was accessible in 6/10 cadaver heads. Fourteen cases of sphenopalatine sinus disease were identified, presenting with one or more clinical signs of exophthalmos, blindness, unilateral epistaxis or unilateral nasal discharge. Diagnoses included neoplasia (7), progressive ethmoidal haematoma (4), sinus cyst (2) and empyema (1). Computed tomography provided diagnostic information but could not differentiate the nature of soft tissue masses. Standing sinoscopic access to the palatine portion of the sphenopalatine sinus was possible for evaluation, biopsy and resection of abnormal soft tissues. Surgical access to the sphenoidal portion was limited. Eight horses were alive at 1 year after diagnosis, with a worse outcome associated with CT evidence of bone loss and a diagnosis of neoplasia. CONCLUSIONS: Sphenopalatine sinus disease should be considered a rare cause of the clinical signs described. Knowledge of the anatomical variation of the sphenopalatine sinus is vital for interpreting CT images. A combination of CT and sinoscopy provides the most comprehensive approach for diagnosis and treatment of sphenopalatine sinus disease.