Isolated sarcoidosis of the lacrimal sac without systemic manifestations

David J. Kay, Norman Saffra, Gady Har-El

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Sarcoidosis is a systemic chronic granulomatous disease of unknown etiology. Although it most commonly affects African-Americans, Scandinavians, and the Irish, individuals of all races and ethnicities are susceptible. The otolaryngologist will most frequently encounter sarcoidosis involving the sinonasal region; however, other sites in the head and neck may be involved. Head and neck affliction with sarcoidosis most frequently accompanies pulmonary involvement, although, in rare cases, it may present in the absence of any systemic manifestations. We present a patient of Eastern European origin treated for persistent epiphora and recurrent dacryocystitis without any other medical problems. Because medical therapy and canalicular intubation failed, an endoscopic dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) was performed. Histologic examination of the lacrimal sac showed noncaseating granulomas. Further workup revealed an elevated angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) level and hilar adenopathy. At no time did the patient have any other signs or symptoms of sarcoidosis. This unique case highlights 4 important issues for the otolaryngologist: (1) sarcoidosis may occur almost anywhere in the head and neck and is not strictly limited to the upper respiratory tract; (2) sarcoidosis may occur in the head and neck even in the absence of any pulmonary or other systemic involvement; (3) sarcoidosis may affect persons of all races, both sexes, and all ages; and (4) routine histopathologic examination after excision of the nasolacrimal sac is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-55
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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