Endoscopic Endonasal Surgery for Sinus Fungus Balls: Clinical, Radiological, Histopathological, and Microbiological Analysis of 40 Cases and Review of the Literature

Document Type : Original


1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Turin, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Orbassano, Italy.

2 FPO IRCCS, Head & Neck Oncology Unit, Candiolo Cancer Institute, Turin, Italy.

3 Department of Diagnostic Imaging, University of Turin, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Orbassano, Italy.

4 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy.


Paranasal sinus fungus ball (PSFB) is a non-invasive mycosis, which appears in immunocompetent patients, along with unilateral lesion. The purpose of this study was to analyse various symptoms of PSFB and its radiological, pathological, and microbiological findings. In addition, this study involved the investigation of the incidence of bacterial coinfection and surgical techniques applied for this infection and to report the modern developments in this domain.
Materials and Methods:
This retrospective study was carried out on 40 consecutive patients referring for PSFB treatment to the Ear, Nose, and Throat Department in San Luigi Gonzaga University Hospital, Turin, Italy, from April 2014 to 2017. Pertinent literature was reviewed and compared within the specified period. All patients were examined by preoperative computed tomography (CT) scan, and 26 (65%) patients were subjected to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Totally,33 patients (82.5%) were affected with single sinus infection, whereas most of the cases suffered from maxillary sinusitis. With regard to CT scan findings, microcalcifications were found in 32.5% of the cases; however, mucosal membrane thickening around the fungus ball (FB) was visible in contrast-enhanced CT scans. According to MRI examination, FB showed a characteristic “signal void” on T 2(42.3%). Only 7(17.5%) patients had a positive mycological culture, whereas bacterial coinfections were identified in 47.5% of the cases. Out of 40 patients, 3(7.5%) subjects had only radiological evidence of fungal colonization while having no histopathological evidence. No patient received postoperative antifungal drugs, and there were no serious complications with only one recurrence.
 Endoscopic endonasal surgery is the treatment of choice for patients with PSFB receiving no associated local or systemic antifungal therapy. A histopathological study facilitates the confirmation of the diagnosis and exclusion of the invasive form of fungal rhinosinusitis.


Main Subjects

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