The silent sinus syndrome: A case series and literature review

Joseph B. Vander Meer, Gerald Harris, Robert J. Toohill, Timothy L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe the clinical and pathologic features of a form of chronic maxillary atelectasis referred to as the silent sinus syndrome, which is characterized by progressive enophthalmos secondary to maxillary collapse resulting from maxillary sinus hypoventilation. Methods. A retrospective medical record analysis was carried out to identify patients with enophthalmos secondary to maxillary collapse. Clinical records, including ophthalmology and otolaryngology evaluations as well as computed tomography scans and operative reports, were carefully examined. A complete literature review for relevant studies was performed to examine possible pathophysiology and similar cases. Results: Four patients with enophthalmos and asymptomatic maxillary sinus disease were identified. On computed tomography, all four of the patients had opacified, partially collapsed maxillary sinuses with osteopenia of the sinus walls and orbital floor displacement resulting in enophthalmos. All four underwent successful functional endoscopic sinus surgery and transconjunctival orbital floor repair. Conclusion: In some instances, chronic maxillary atelectasis can present with enophthalmos secondary to collapse of the maxillary sinus. For reasons that are unclear, the sinus component of the disease remains asymptomatic and is discovered only after thorough evaluation of the enophthalmos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)975-978
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic maxillary atelectasis
  • Enophthalmos
  • Silent sinus syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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