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 5/25/2016
Updated by: Sumana Jothi, MD, specialist in laryngology, Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF Otolaryngology, NCHCS VA, SFVA, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.