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Neurovasculature of the nasal cavity

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the major arteries of the nasal cavity, their pathways and supply areas.
  2. Identify the major veins of the nasal cavity and their areas of drainage.
  3. Identify the major nerves of the nasal cavity, their pathways and supply areas.

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The nasal cavity has a rich neurovascular supply, which allows the nose to perform its important respiratory and sensory functions. Nasal arteries warm and humidify inhaled air, preparing the air to travel down into our lungs. Nasal veins drain the deoxygenated blood. Nasal nerves carry olfactory information (smell) and general sensation to the brain, as well as parasympathetic (secretomotor) signals from the brain to the nasal cavity.

These video tutorials will introduce you to the arteries, veins and nerves of the nasal cavity.

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Key facts about the neurovasculature of the nasal cavity
Nasal arteries Anterior and posterior ethmoidal arteries – supply the roof of the nose, the anterior internal and external nose, the adjacent nasal septum and the ethmoid and frontal sinuses

Sphenopalatine artery – supplies the nasal conchae and meatuses (including the covering mucosa), and the posteroinferior septum

Greater palatine artery – supplies the inferior meatus and adjacent septum

Superior labial artery (septal branch) – supplies the inferior portion of the anterior nasal cavity
Nasal veins Superior nasal veins - drain into the cavernous sinus

Central and posterior nasal veins - drain into the pterygoid venous plexus

Anterior nasal veins - drain into the facial vein
Nasal nerves Cranial nerve I – Olfactory nerve (olfaction)

Cranial nerve V – Trigeminal nerve (sensation)

Cranial nerve VII – Facial nerve (parasympathetic control of nasal mucous glands

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