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Nasal cavity

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the boundaries of the nasal cavity.
  2. Name the main functions of the nasal cavity.
  3. Describe the key features of the nasal cavity.

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The nasal cavities are spaces within the anterior aspect of the cranium, located directly behind the external nose. The left and right cavities are separated in the midline by a central nasal septum (medial wall) and both chambers are also bounded by a roof, floor and lateral wall.

Each cavity has three regions: vestibule region, respiratory region and the olfactory region. The vestibule is located within the nares, it is lined by skin and houses hair follicles. The olfactory region is the most superior part of the cavity space, it is lined by olfactory epithelium and contains olfactory receptors. The remaining nasal cavity forms the large respiratory region. This area is lined by respiratory epithelium with ciliated and mucous cells and contains the nasal conchae and meatuses.

These video tutorials will introduce you to the nasal cavity and its key features.

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Expand your focus and test yourself on the entire nasal region with our customizable quiz:

Browse atlas


Key facts about the nasal cavity
Skeletal framework Ethmoid bone, sphenoid bone, frontal bone, vomer, nasal bone (2), maxilla (2), palatine bone (2), lacrimal bone (2) and inferior nasal conchae bone (2)
Boundaries Roof – cribriform plate
Floor – hard palate
Medial wall – nasal septum
Lateral Wall – houses the conchae and meatuses
Apertures Anterior - nostrils
Posterior - nasopharynx (choana)
Superior - cribriform plate
Inferior - Incisive canal
Posterosuperior - sphenopalatine foramen
Key Features Nasal vestibule
- Nasal hair

Olfactory region
- Cribriform plate
- Olfactory epithelium and receptors

Respiratory region
- Superior, middle and inferior nasal concha
- Inferior nasal meatus, middle nasal meatus, superior nasal meatus and the sphenoethmoidal reces

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