Teaching frontal sinus anatomy using the frontal sinus masterclass 3- D conceptualization model

Philip G. Chen, K. Christopher McMains, Marc A. Tewfik, James K. Aden, Seth Brown, Erik K. Weitzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: Frontal sinus anatomy is complex and often is a difficult subject to both teach and learn. The traditional surgical dogma of “see one, do one, teach one” is impractical and dangerous in the frontal sinus. Based on the building block three-dimensional conceptualization module, the Frontal Sinus Masterclass (FSMC) was created to teach this anatomy. Methods: Study was performed at two academic centers among second- to fifth-year otolaryngology residents. A pretest assessed knowledge prior to the course. Computed tomography scans of the sinuses were evaluated in triplanar view, and participants attempted to reconstruct the anatomy. Subsequently, the course instructor explained the anatomy using the building block method and showed a short video of the surgical dissection, pointing out relevant anatomy. Cases progressed in anatomical difficulty and inflammatory load. A posttest determined knowledge after the course. Results: Thirty of 50 participating residents completed the pre- and posttests (14 junior, 16 senior residents). Correct identification of the frontal sinus drainage pathway increased from 42% to 63% correct (P = 0.054). Anatomical assessment increased from 61% to 68% correct (P = 0.047), and overall assessment increased from 52% to 66% correct (P = 0.016). Conclusion: Objectively, participants of the FSMC expanded on their ability to recognize cells of the frontal recess on CT scans. Before the class, residents could answer less than half of the answers correctly, and by the end of the class they were answering over two-thirds of these complex questions correctly. Subjectively, participants reported benefit from the course and felt they would be better surgeons. Level of Evidence: NA. Laryngoscope, 128:1294–1298, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-1298
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • 3D conceptualization
  • Frontal sinus
  • anatomy
  • residency
  • surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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