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Ethmoid sinus

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noun, plural: ethmoid sinuses

One of the many sieve-like sinuses within the ethmoid bone of the skull, particularly behind the nose and in between the eyes


The ethmoid sinus is the collective term for the several tiny, thin-walled ethmoid air cells. It is part of the paranasal sinus system. It is identifiable from the other paranasal sinuses (such as maxillary, frontal, and sphenoid sinuses) by its location, which is behind the nose and in between the eyes.

The function of ethmoid sinuses is for warming and humidifying the inhaled air. The ethmoid air cells produce mucus that drain into the nasal meati, and therefore, are involved in lubrication. The cilia in the ethmoid air cells are involved in filtering the inspired air. However, there are instances wherein infective particles can still cause inflammation and diseases. Infection at the ethmoid sinuses may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

The ethmoid sinuses are present at birth as very small cavities but soon grow to walnut-size at puberty, specifically at the age of 12. Growing ethmoid sinuses until puberty results in a voice becoming more resonant.

Word origin: Greek ethmos (sieve) + eidos (form)

Also called:

  • ethmoidal sinus
  • sinus ethmoidales


See also: