Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinus cavities, which are moist, hollow spaces in the bones of the skull. There are four pairs of sinuses:
- Frontal sinuses
- Maxillary sinuses
- Ethmoid sinuses
- Sphenoid sinuses (not shown in illustration)
If the opening from a sinus cavity becomes plugged, the flow of mucus is blocked and pressure builds up, causing pain and inflammation.
Review Date 5/17/2018
Updated by: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.