Intracranial Abscesses Secondary to Nasal, Sinus, and Orbital Infections in Adults and Children

Anthony J. Maniglia, W. Jarrard Goodwin, James E. Arnold, Edward Ganz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Nineteen cases of intracranial abscesses secondary to infection of the midface are reported. The most common underlying cause was bacterial sinusitis. Other etiologic factors included mucormycosis following steroid therapy, Wegener's granulomatosis, nasal dermoid cyst and sinus tract, tooth abscesses, aspergillosis following chemotherapy for leukemia, squamous cell carcinoma of the frontal sinus, infected methylmethacrylate plate for a prior skull fracture, and a case of gauze packing left in the sinus following surgery. Anaerobic organisms were the predominant cause of the abscesses. The most dangerous intracranial complication was subdural abscess, which occurred in seven patients in this series. Three of them died. Four cases of frontal and parietal lobe abscesses were treated with systemic antibiotics only. This approach has not been well emphasized in our literature. Steroid therapy should not be used for the treatment of sinus and orbital infections. It can result in dreadful complications. The overall mortality rate in this series was 21% (4 of 19), despite aggressive treatment and close cooperation between the neurosurgeon, otolaryngologist, and other specialists. Early diagnosis and adequate treatment are paramount.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1424-1429
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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