Nose Anatomy – Check Parts and its Functions


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Updated on Aug 15, 2023

We can breathe clean air because of the nose, a vital organ through which filtered air reaches our lungs through the process of inhalation. The nose removes unwanted particles from the air and serves as the doorway to aromas and smells around us. 

The human nose is a structure between the eyes. It is the entry point of the respiratory tract in the respiratory system, which stores the olfactory organ. The nose supplies the body with the air required for breathing. It is the organ that serves multi-purposes such as air filtration while breathing, cleans the debris from the inhaled air, and is the site of olfactory sensation. Let’s take a look at the nose anatomy and its functions.

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9 Parts of the Nose

The nose structure or nasal anatomy comprises both internal and external nose structures. Among the various parts of the nose, the cartilages and bones give it its shape. The external nose has three sections; such as frontal, basal and lateral. Further, two nasal bones in the frontal upper region form the bridge of the nose.

Here’s a look at the different parts one by one:

1. Bone:

The first part of the nose anatomy is the bone, which is a tiny smooth skull bone that holds the nose bridge. This bone is a component of the face skeleton.

2. Mucous membrane: 

The mucous membrane releases sticky mucus to avoid the entrance of dust and unwanted particles. Mucus, along with cilia, work to trap unknown particles from entering through the nose while breathing. Moreover, the membrane warms the air we breathe in. The nose as well as throat and sinuses are all lined with the mucous membrane.

3. Nasal cavities:

The hollow and empty space via which the air flows is the nasal cavity. It has two different parts called nasal passages. The air we breathe passes from the two passages.

4. Nerve cells:

The information from nose smell receptors is transferred to the brain by the nerve cells.

5. Nostril:

A nostril is one of the two openings in the external part of the nasal cavity.

6. Septum:

This part comprises the cartilage wall and a thin bone that divides the two hollow compartments of the nose.

7. Sinuses:

They are chambers filled with air and are hollow. They are located in the bone adjoining the nose. They help in sending mucus to the nasal cavity.

8. Turbinates:

These are small structures within the nose which clean and warm the air that enters our lungs via the nose.

9. External nose:

External nose anatomy is the part of the face with an opening to the nasal cavity. Its frame comprises bony structures as well as skeletons of cartilaginous.

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What Functions does the Nose Perform? 

Besides the critical function of breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide, the nose also contributes to hearing and sense of taste. Here are some main functions of the nose:

  • The nose helps in the process of inhalation. So, the start of the respiration process takes place from your nose. The air first reaches the oropharynx and, from there, travels to the lungs via the larynx, bronchi and trachea
  • The nose has a key contribution in the overall look of a person and in maintaining the symmetry of the face
  • The human sound relies on the resonance of the nasal cavity. While speaking, the sound goes through the nose as compared to the pharynx. The sound and nasal cavities vibrate to amplify the voice
  • The nose filters and cleans the inhaled air as well as warms and moistens it
  • Nose also serves as the sense of smell and taste

What are Sinuses and their Types? 

Sinuses are air pockets linked to the passages of the nose. They are present inside the face and skull bones. They are connected by the nose passage via small tubes or channels called osteomeatal complexes.

Sinuses are of four types and are named after the bones in which they are located, such as;

  • Ethmoid sinus
  • Maxillary sinus
  • Frontal sinus
  • Sphenoid sinus

6 Illnesses of the Nose

Here are some nose conditions that people may suffer from:

1. Deviated Septum:

This is the condition when the nasal septum is displaced to one side

2. Allergic Rhinitis:

This is the condition of inflammation of the nasal membrane, which causes issues like rhinorrhea, nasal itching, sneezing, and nasal congestion

3. Enlarged Turbinates:

This is the condition of abnormal growth of the bony structures inside the nose

4. Nasal Trauma:

It is the condition of common injury with the capacity to cause significant damage to the skin, cartilage or bone of the nose

5. Sinus Infection:

It is the inflammation of the sinuses caused by an infection, and it can cause pain by blocking the sinuses

6. Nasopharyngeal Cancer:

It is a rare kind of cancer that affects the area of the throat between the nose and pharynx

Other issues of the nose include nasal polyps, nasal valve collapse and nosebleeds, among others.

How to Keep the Nose Healthy? 

  • Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, which increases the risk of lung cancer
  • Avoid removing nose hairs as it serves as the defense system of your nose to keep away harmful debris
  • Nasal hair removal can also cause easy transfer of infection
  • Drink plenty of water and keep your home clean to stay away from breathing dust and allergens
  • Wash the nasal cavities by squirting saline
  • Use a humidifier at home to relieve a stuffy nose and avoid problems of cold and flu.

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The nasal cavity anatomy filters and humidifies the air we breathe. Through the mucociliary clearance, it guards the respiratory tract. The nose is the source of pleasant aromas, and bad smells sensed through olfactory receptors. A healthy nose is necessary to avoid any clinically significant diseases that can occur if the nasal cavity’s functions are compromised.

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FAQs: Nose Anatomy

What are the various nasal cavity functions?

The nasal cavity warms and humidifies the inspired air. It removes the tiny airborne particles from reaching the lower airways while passing the air through the nasal cavity.

How does the nose anatomy function?

Nasal cavities are hollow spaces that help in passing the air in and out. The nostrils are the opening of the nose, which connects to the Nasal cavities. The foreign particles in the air are stopped from getting inside the nose by the nose hair, cilia and the mucous membrane inside the nasal cavities.

How many layers does the nose have?

There are five layers in the nasal envelope: skin, fibro-muscular layer, superficial fatty layer, periosteum or perichondrium and deep fatty layer.

What do you call the top of the nose?

The nose tip is termed the apex.

What are the four structures associated with the sinuses of the nose?

The four structures associated with sinuses of the nose are - frontal, sphenoidal sinuses, maxillary and ethmoidal cells.

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Aug 11, 2023
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