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Figure 25 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) views illustrating an inferior ethmoidectomy. In advanced cases, the surgeon initially maintains a safe distance of approximately 10 mm (solid arrows) as he or she proceeds around the antrostomy ridge (dotted arrow) toward the sphenoid sinus (S).

Figure 25 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) views illustrating an inferior ethmoidectomy. In advanced cases, the surgeon initially maintains a safe distance of approximately 10 mm (solid arrows) as he or she proceeds around the antrostomy ridge (dotted arrow) toward the sphenoid sinus (S).

H. Posterior Ethmoid Air Cells (Figures 26 and 27)

The posterior ethmoid cells may be entered safely through the most horizontal portion of the middle turbinate lamella. Endoscopically visuale an imaginary line perpendicular to the nasal septum from the posterior MOF, another line along the vertical antrostomy ridge, and a third along the free edge of the middle turbinate basal lamella, forming a triangle. The triangle demarcates the zone of safe entry into the inferior aspect of the posterior ethmoid sinus (i.e., through the horizontal portion of the middle turbinate's basal lamella) (37).

Once the lateral (orbital) wall of the posterior ethmoid has been identified, the surgeon may proceed with further dissection of the superior cell(s) of the posterior ethmoid or suprabullar area, thus completing the total ethmoidectomy. The vertical portion of the middle turbinate basal lamella more anterosuperiorly, or other ethmoid septations are carefully removed in a posteroan-terior and superoinferior direction. Initially, the surgeon restricts the dissection to an area adjacent to the orbital wall and lateral ethmoid roof where the bone is thickest. Additional passes along the medial ethmoid roof are then performed to open up more medially located cells, once the roof of

Basal Lamella Middle Turbinate Vertical

Figure 26 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) views denoting the triangular zone of safe entry (asterisk) into the inferior posterior ethmoid through the horizontal portion of the basal lamella (solid line). MT = tail of the middle turbinate. B = area of ethmoid bulla. IT = inferior turbinate.

Figure 26 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) views denoting the triangular zone of safe entry (asterisk) into the inferior posterior ethmoid through the horizontal portion of the basal lamella (solid line). MT = tail of the middle turbinate. B = area of ethmoid bulla. IT = inferior turbinate.

the ethmoid is identified laterally. The surgeon should observe that the roof of the anterior ethmoid roof slopes medially by as much as 45 degrees.

The mucosa along the orbital wall and ethmoid roof is left undisturbed, whenever possible, to avoid granulations, osteitis, prolonged healing, osteoneogenesis, and fibrosis. Only the mucosa overlying the septations is removed. This can be facilitated by the use of cutting forceps or powered instrumentation.

Basal Lamella Middleturbinate

Figure 27 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) views after removal of the middle turbinate basal lamella. The vertical portion of the basal lamella (arrows) separates the superior aspect of the posterior ethmoid from the suprabullar air cells. PE = posterior ethmoid. B = area of ethmoid bulla.

Figure 27 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) views after removal of the middle turbinate basal lamella. The vertical portion of the basal lamella (arrows) separates the superior aspect of the posterior ethmoid from the suprabullar air cells. PE = posterior ethmoid. B = area of ethmoid bulla.

I. Sphenoid Sinusotomy (Figures 28-34)

The sphenoid ostium is located medial to the tail of the superior and supreme turbinate and adjacent to the nasal septum, approximately 7 cm from the nasolabial angle of the columnella (37). This area corresponds to the middle third of the sphenoid sinus' vertical height.

A direct sphenoid sinusotomy may be performed without performing an ethmoidectomy or antrostomy. The superior turbinate is exposed endoscopically by reducing the middle turbinate head (as previously described). With a straight ball probe or Cottle periosteal elevator, the surgeon gently palpates the area immediately adjacent to the tail of the superior turbinate and then progresses further superiorly until the sphenoid sinus is entered and the posterior wall is palpated. The posterior wall of sphenoid sinus measures approximately 9 cm from the base of the columnella. The sphenoid is initially opened inferiorly and medially with a sphenoid punch or powered instrumentation. The sphenoid ostium is enlarged laterally only after confirming an air-containing space behind its common wall with the posterior ethmoid sinus. Blind removal, without confirming an air-containing space, can result in inadvertent injury to the intrasphenoidal carotid artery.

Figure 28 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) view showing a probe through the natural ostium of the sphenoid sinus (S), which lies adjacent to the nasal septum (NS) and superomedial to the tail of the superior turbinate (ST).

Figure 28 Sagittal (a) and endoscopic (b) view showing a probe through the natural ostium of the sphenoid sinus (S), which lies adjacent to the nasal septum (NS) and superomedial to the tail of the superior turbinate (ST).

When significant anatomical distortion exists in the area of the sphenoethmoidal recess, and the posterior insertion of the superior turbinate is not clearly visible, then the MOF is used to determine the approach into the sphenoid sinus. In these situations, the sphenoid sinus is entered and identified medially adjacent to the nasal septum, approximately 7 cm from the base of the colum-nella, at the level of the posterior MOF along the horizontal ridge of the antrostomy. When the posterior MOF is used, the sphenoid sinus will be entered consistently in its inferior to middle third. In most cases, this area also corresponds to the location of the sphenoid ostium. If the maxillary natural ostium (or anterior antrostomy ridge) is used as a reference point, then the sphenoid will be entered slightly more inferiorly, where thicker bone may be encountered. Entering the sphenoid medially, through the area of its natural ostium, obviates the possibility of inadvertent injury to the intrasphenoid carotid artery located more laterally. The latter may occur when a blind transethmoidal entry into the sphenoid sinus, lateral to the tail of the superior turbinate, is performed. Entering the sphenoid medially permits enlargement of the normal sphenoid ostium, thus restoring the normal mucociliary flow of the sphenoid sinus. It also minimizes the chance of creating a separate drainage area through the back wall of the posterior ethmoid sinus.

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