I had worked for an ENT physician transcribing the dictation for five years. I have now gone to a different practice specializing in allergy, asthma, and sinus. Although, I am a great believer in "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," I find myself somewhat frustrated trying to guess which terms they are going to follow the book and which they are not. In ENT "ostiomeatal" is spelled with an "i." Also, I have only one time been able to find it spelled with "osteomeatal" in any medical dictionary, but never with an "e" when referring to complex, unit, or stent. Also, is there a difference when transcribing CT scan reports when referring to the "ostiomeatal unit?" I have found CT scan reports where it is spelled "osteomeatal" but wonder if this is not just transcribers inability to confirm the word and making combinations. I notice on the web search engines that it is spelled both ways. Does anyone know the correct spelling and/or if it is now accepted as being spelled both, and could you please show me some evidence? Thanks. Tjo in TN
1 2
"osteo" is the root word meaning "bone".
"ostio" is the root word meaning "passage".

The medical term you are referring to has to do with passages in the nose, not to bones.

What you want is "ostiomeatal". Perhaps the CT transcribers are not aware of the fact that there are two similar root words and that they need to use the one that means "passage". Perhaps they are getting interference from seeing the word "osteoporosis" in the popular press lately. In that case, it really is "bones" that is the intended meaning, and in that case "osteo" is correct.

Confusing? Yes -- but not an insurmountable confusion. Emotion: smile

Hope this helps!
Hi: Just reading your post...Pretty confusing since the spellcheckers accept osteomeatal...My editor likes your version.
One question, meatus also means opening. I thought that osteomeatal meant an opening in bone.
I went through so many medical texts in the hospital library and found it more confusing when even in ENT texts the words were interchangeable....

What do you think?

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
It's osteomeatal unit and ostiomeatal complex. At least, that's the way we do it at Bethesda Naval.

The correct spelling is "ostiomeatal" when referring to the nose. Ostium is a passage in the nose and not referring to a bone.
Meatus does mean passage/ opening, and ostium means opening as well.  However, in the nose there are meati, onto which the ostia open, making ostiomeatal the correct term.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Ugghhh! I am having this same problem.... I work radiology and was told "ostiomeatal" was for the sinuses and "osteomeatal" was for referring to bones??? I am not satisfied with this answer.... I guess I really need to get serious and research this. I am lazy and have only half heartedly looked this up. It comes up once in a while so I just go with what I was told.... Good luck... If I get any solid answers I will post them here. LC in CA
You are correct. Radiologists often incorrectly use the term "osteomeatal" which is a meaningless term. It probably derives from the fact that on sinus CTs the radiologists are mostly looking at bone, the origin of "osteo". It is spelled incorrectly in several radiology textbooks.

The term ostiomeatal refers to the connection between the meatus in the nasal cavity to the ostium of the paranasal sinus.

P.S. I am a radiologist.
11/96, from Gail Hall, osteomeatal and ostiomeatal:
Between the turbinates in the nose are little passages, each of which they call a "meatus" so you have the middle meatus which they talk about a lot because the sinuses drain into there. But the little hole (doorways) where the mucus (and whatever else) comes out of the sinuses are called ostia. Ostium is singular. That mean "opening."

Some people say, that's redundant! Well, I think of it like a hallway between walls and at the ends or near the ends there are doors that go into rooms (the sinuses). That really untechnical, but that helps me understand how there can be "meatus" and "ostia" in the same area.

The combination of the passages between the nasal turbinates and the openings from the sinuses is called the "ostiomeatal complex." Believe it or not, the scope is small enough so they can look up in there and take pictures. They can see if there is blockage from such things as polyps or just plain swelling of the turbinates. Of course, they also notice if the nasal septum is crooked and causing problems.

Depending on what is causing the openings from the sinuses to be blocked, they will treat accordingly. If there are polyps and they aren't too bad, they try medication to reduce them. If that works, fine. If not, then they can do surgery to remove the polyps. The usually use lasers these days. Once the polyps are removed, though, they have to make sure the polyps don't come back. Some people are more susceptible to developing polyps than others. If the ostia are too small, they can do what they call an "ostiomeatal expansion" to increase the size so that the mucus can get out. There is normally drainage from the sinuses, and when that gets blocked for any reason, you have problems.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Show more