Thursday, June 7, 2012


The terms Rhinitis, Rhinosinusitis and Sinusitis are often confused, as they are alterations and diseases of the nasal fossae and the paranasal sinuses that are subtly different one to another. They are also covered by the same mucosa and innervated by the same fibres from the neurovegetative system.

The sinonasal pathologies can be defined as follows: 
RHINITIS, an inflammation of the nasal mucosa that always courses with:
  • Oedema and vasodilation that hampers breathing, giving rise to uncomfortable “nasal congestion”;
  • Secretion of variable thickness;
  • Pruritus and irritation that causes sneezing.
These are sometimes accompanied by:
  • Ear, eye and pharyngeal symptoms.

RHINOSINUSITIS, an inflammatory process of the mucosa of the nasal fossae and one or more of the various paranasal sinuses (maxillary, frontal, ethmoid and sphenoidal). The inflammation in the sinuses gives rise to a loss of drainage through the ostium, leading to an accumulation of mucosity and a subsequent increased sensation of congestion.

SINUSITIS is a process limited to the mucosae of the paranasal sinuses. In practice, this localisation does not take place, and the inflammation of the mucosa of the sinuses is accompanied by that of the nasal fossae.
RHINOSINUSITIS is therefore the term of choice, as it figures in most current scientific guidelines, the news and the medical literature, and it is the one that most exactly matches the physiological process that actually occurs. The characteristic symptoms of rhinosinusitis are nasal obstruction, mucopurulent rhinorrhea and localised frontal or facial pain which in some cases may be accompanied by a loss of sense of smell.

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