Supraorbital air cells

Supraorbital air cells are an anatomical variant of the paranasal sinuses. They consist of cells originating from the anterior ethmoid air cells extending posteriorly and superiorly over the orbit from the frontal recess. They may mimic septated frontal sinuses as their posterior wall is the skull base.

Gross anatomy

These cells consist of pneumatization of the orbital plate of the frontal bone posterior to the frontal sinus and frontal recess. They usually drain into the lateral aspect of the frontal recess.

They are identified in approximately 25-35% of subjects and can be multiple in up to 5% of individuals.

Practical points

When a supraorbital cell is present, care should be taken on pre-functional endoscopic sinus surgery imaging studies to identify the anterior ethmoidal notch as the anterior ethmoidal artery is usually seen freely traveling within the ethmoid air cells and thus at greater risk of intraoperative injury. Moreover, these cells may contribute to obstructing the frontal recess and may be mistaken preoperatively for the frontal recess.

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 58945
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tag: cases, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Supra-orbital cells
  • Supraorbital cells
  • Supra-orbital air cell
  • Supraorbital ethmoid air cell
  • Supra-orbital ethmoid air cell
  • Supraorbital ethmoid air cells
  • Supra-orbital ethmoid air cells
  • Supraorbital cell
  • Supraorbital pneumatisation
  • Supraorbital air cells

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.