Complications of sinusitis

Complications resulting from sinusitis are relatively rare. However, when complications occur, they may be life-threatening and often require extensive medical or surgical treatment.

The complications of sinusitis usually involve the spread of the infection beyond the sinuses.

  • The facial bones can become infected (osteomyelitis), or the lining of the brain can become infected (meningitis).
  • The infection can spread outside the sinus and create a pocket of pus (abscess) in an eye socket, the brain, or facial tissue.

Sinusitis may also increase symptoms of asthma and other lifelong (chronic) lung diseases. Sinus infections are a common problem for people who have asthma. Treating sinusitis may also help control the symptoms of asthma.

Last Updated: August 15, 2008

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

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