Scientists have analysed CT scans of horses to create three-dimensional models to help further our understanding of the complex equine sinus pathways.
The German researchers said the detailed anatomy of the equine paranasal sinuses and the nasal cavity is, and has been, extremely challenging.
Detailed knowledge of these structures was essential for successful diagnostic and surgical intervention, especially with sinusitis being such a common disease in the horse, they said.
The researchers, from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover and Justus-Liebig-University, analysed data obtained from CT scans of the heads of 19 horses, aged 2 to 26, to produce their three-dimensional models.
Their research into the paranasal sinuses, which they described as a complex channel system, showed the bilateral existence of seven sinus compartments: the rostral maxillary sinus, ventral conchal sinus, caudal maxillary sinus, dorsal conchal sinus, frontal sinus, sphenopalatine sinus and middle conchal sinus.
The maxillary septum divided these seven compartments into two sinus systems: a rostral paranasal sinus system composed of the rostral maxillary sinus and the ventral conchal sinus and a caudal paranasal sinus system which comprises all other sinuses.
Their 3D models, using what they called “virtual casting”, revealed what was a typical configuration of the sinus system.
The research, by Markus Brinkschulte, Astrid Bienert-Zeit, Matthias Lüpke, Maren Hellige, Bernhard Ohnesorge and Carsten Staszyk, showed no statistically significant differences between the right and left side of the head.
“Remarkably, the rostral and caudal paranasal sinus systems are completely separated by the maxillary septum,” the researchers said in their findings, published in the journal, BMC Veterinary Research.
“Thus, the airways between the nasomaxillary aperture and the two sinus systems should be divided into at least two separated branches, one ventilating the rostral paranasal sinus system and another ventilating the caudal paranasal sinus system.
“However, the courses and dimensions of the connecting airways between the nasomaxillary aperture and the maxillary sinuses are not fully understood so far.”
A detailed knowledge of the nasal cavity and sinus pathways was essential for establishing new diagnostic and surgical procedures, they said.
Their models, they said, would even allow for virtual simulations to generate new surgical approaches and instruments for treatment of nasal and sinus-related conditions.
The sinonasal communication in the horse: examinations using computerized three-dimensional reformatted renderings of computed-tomography datasets.
Markus Brinkschulte, Astrid Bienert-Zeit, Matthias Lüpke, Maren Hellige, Bernhard Ohnesorge and Carsten Staszyk.
BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:72 doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-72
The full study can be read here.