Bacterial ball as an unusual finding in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis

Dong Kyu Kim, Young Chan Wi, Su Jin Shin, Youn Il Jang, Kyung Rae Kim, Seok Hyun Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives. Pathophysiology of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is very complex and has not yet been clearly understood. To date, various factors have been researched to have relations with the pathogenesis of CRS, such as superantigens and biofilms. Recently, we found an unusual pathological finding in patients with CRS, and we called this new entity as bacteria ball (or bioball). In this study, we analyze the clinical characteristics of bacteria ball occurred in CRS. Methods. This study enrolled consecutive 247 patients with CRS who underwent functional endoscopic sinus surgery from January 2015 to August 2016. The diagnosis of bacterial ball was made when negative in Gomori-methenamine-silver stain and positive in Gram stain. Histologically, bacterial ball was defined as acellular mucous materials with bacterial colonies and inflammatory cell infiltrates. We compared clinical data and computed tomography (CT) findings between fungal and bacterial balls. Results. Six cases (2.4%) of CRS were confirmed histologically as bacterial ball. Most of them were found in the maxillary sinus of CRS without nasal polyposis (66.7%). Bacterial ball was green or brown colored materials similar to fungal ball which was harder and tightly adherent to the antral mucosa. Compared to fungal ball, patients with bacterial ball showed significantly less peripheral eosinophils (P=0.011) and calcification in CT scans (P=0.003). Conclusion. Bacterial ball is unusual findings occurred in patient with CRS which is different from fungal ball and biofilm. For diagnosis of bacterial ball, Gram stain is essentially required to identify bacterial colonies. Bacterial ball might appear to be evidence of a new strategy for living in the paranasal sinuses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018 Mar


  • Bacteria
  • Endoscopic surgery
  • Fungi
  • Sinusitis


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