digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Nasal cavity
Illu01 head neck.jpg
Head and neck.
Illu conducting passages.svg
Conducting passages
Latin cavum nasi; cavitas nasi
Gray's p.994
MeSH Nasal+Cavity

The nasal cavity (or nasal fossa) is a large air filled space above and behind the nose in the middle of the face. Each cavity is the continuation of one of the two nostrils.


The nasal cavity conditions the air to be received by the other areas of the respiratory tract. Owing to the large surface area provided by the nasal conchae, the air passing through the nasal cavity is warmed or cooled to within 1 degree of body temperature. In addition, the air is humidified, and dust and other particulate matter is removed by vibrissae, short, thick hairs, present in the vestibule. The cilia of the respiratory epithelium move the particulate matter towards the pharynx where it passes into the esophagus and is digested in the stomach. The nasal cavity also aids in our sense of smell and taste.


Lateral wall of the nasal cavity is mainly made up by the maxilla, however there is a deficiency that is compensated by: the perpendicular plate of the palatine bone, the medial pterygoid plate, the labyrinth of the ethmoid and the inferior concha.

The nasal cavity is enclosed by the nasal bone above.

The floor of the nasal cavity, which forms the roof of the mouth, is made up by the bones of the hard palate: the horizontal plate of the palatine bone posteriorly and the palatine process of the maxilla anteriorly. To the front of the nasal cavity is the nose, while the back blends, via the choanae, into the nasopharynx. The paranasal sinuses are connected to the nasal cavity through small orifices called ostia.

The nasal cavity is divided in two by a vertical fin called the nasal septum. On the sides of the nasal cavity are three horizontal outgrowths called nasal conchae (singular "concha") or turbinates. These turbinates disrupt the airflow, directing air toward the olfactory epithelium on the surface of the turbinates and the septum. The vomeronasal organ is located at the back of the septum and has a role in pheromone detection.

Cilia and mucus[edit]

Cilia and mucus along the inside wall of the nasal cavity trap and remove dust and pathogens from the air as it flows through the nasal cavity. The cilia move the mucus down the nasal cavity to the pharynx, where it can be swallowed.


The nasal cavity is divided into two segments: the respiratory segment and the olfactory segment.

  • The respiratory segment is lined with ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelium (also called respiratory epithelium). The conchae are located in this region. The respiratory segment has a very vascularized lamina propria allowing the venous plexuses of the conchal mucosa to engorge with blood, restricting airflow and causing air to be directed to the other side of the nose. This cycle occurs approximately every 20–30 minutes. Nose bleeds [epistaxis] in the inferior concha are common in this region.
  • The olfactory segment is lined with a specialized type of pseudostratified columnar epithelium, known as olfactory epithelium, which contains receptors for the sense of the smell. This segment is located along the dorsal roof of the nasal cavity. Histological sections appear yellowish-brown due to the presence of lipofuscin pigments. Olfactory mucosal cell types include bipolar neurons, supporting (sustentacular) cells, basal cells, and Bowman's glands. The axons of the bipolar neurons form the olfactory nerve (cranial nerve I) which enters the brain through the cribiform plate. Bowman's glands are serous glands in the lamina propria, whose secretions trap and dissolve odoriferous substances.

Blood supply[edit]

There is a rich blood supply to the nasal cavity. In some animals, such as dogs, the capillary beds flowing through the nasal cavity help cool the blood flow to the brain.

Blood supply comes from branches of both the internal and external carotid artery, including branches of the facial artery and maxillary artery. The named arteries of the nose are:


Innervation of the nasal cavity responsible for the sense of smell is via the olfactory nerve, which sends microscopic fibers from the olfactory bulb through the cribriform plate to reach the top of the nasal cavity.

General sensory innervation is by branches of the trigeminal nerve (V1 & V2):

There are two passages in the nasal cavity, not to be confused with nostrils.The entire nasal cavity is innervated by autonomic fibers. Sympathetic innervation to the blood vessels of the mucosa causes them to constrict, while the control of secretion by the mucous glands is carried on postganglionic parasympathetic nerve fibers originating from the facial nerve.


Diseases of the nasal cavity include viral, bacterial and fungal infections, nasal cavity tumors, both benign and much more often malignant, as well as inflammations of the nasal mucosa. Many problems besides the common cold can affect the nose. They include

Deviated septum - a shifting of the wall that divides the nasal cavity into halves Nasal polyps - soft growths that develop on the lining of your nose or sinuses Nosebleeds Rhinitis - inflammation of the nose and sinuses sometimes caused by allergies. The main symptom is a runny nose. Nasal fractures, also known as a broken nose

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_cavity — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

127 news items

Medical Research News and Interviews_ MedicalResearch.com

Medical Research News and Interviews_ MedicalResearch.com
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 10:37:30 -0700

Dr. Foote: Charged particle therapy (mainly protons and carbon ions) provide superior overall survival, disease-free survival and tumor control when compared to conventional photon therapy. In particular, it appears that proton beam therapy provides ...

Doctor Tipster

Doctor Tipster
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:18:45 -0700

Nasal polyps teardrop like growth seen in the nose. It may also appear in the sinuses. These are common and noncancerous growths. Nasal polyps are mostly located at the place where sinuses meet the nasal cavity. These are generally associated with ...
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:07:30 -0700

The adenoids are patches of tissue at the back of the nasal cavity. Obstructive sleep apnea usually results from the tonsils or adenoids partially getting in the way of the breathing passages. The researchers randomly divided 464 children with ...
The Standard Digital News
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 06:22:32 -0700

Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat, causing swelling and catarrh. The resulting congestion of the nasal passages makes it difficult to breathe through your nose, says Marianne Davey. And the more you smoke, the more ...
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:22:30 -0700

"This organism enters a person through the nasal cavity, causing a condition known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba attacks the brain, resulting in death within days of infection." Bacteria likes standing water, so unless you ...
Detroit Free Press
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:18:55 -0700

The bullet traveled through his eye and nasal cavity before landing in his mouth. Petruk had two initial surgeries in Ukraine, one of which removed his eye. He spent two days in a Kiev hospital before being removed by his family out of fear for his safety.
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:14:30 -0700

Neighbors heard her screaming and found her covered in blood with her eyes swollen shut, and her nose had been split open, exposing her nasal cavity, according to court documents. She was taken to Lutheran Hospital, where her doctor told police one of ...

The Week UK

The Week UK
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:48:45 -0700

A woman who underwent an experimental treatment to try to cure her paralysis, in which stem cells were collected from her nasal cavity and implanted in her spine, suffered a tumour-like growth eight years later, the New Scientist reports. The American ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Nasal cavity

You can talk about Nasal cavity with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!