Nasal Turbinates

The Nasal Turbinates include three or sometimes four bony shelves projecting from the lateral wall of the nose. These processes are covered by mucous membrane containing large vascular spaces that can enlarge to control the caliber of the nasal cavity, facilitating heat and water exchange, and increasing the surface area of the nose.

Inferior Turbinate The inferior turbinate is a separate bone articulating with the maxilla, lacrimal, and palatine bones on the lateral wall of the nasal cavity. It is the longest and broadest turbinate.

Inferior Meatus The inferior meatus is a horizontal passage inferolateral to the inferior nasal turbinate. It contains the opening of the nasolacrimal duct.

Middle Turbinate The middle turbinate is a process of the ethmoid bone. It overlies the middle meatus.

Middle Meatus The middle meatus is wide and is associated with the hiatus semilunaris.

Superior Turbinate The superior turbinate is a process of the ethmoid bone.

Superior Meatus The superior meatus is a narrow passage between the superior and middle nasal turbinates.

Sphenoethmoidal Recess The sphenoethmoidal recess lies superior to the superior turbinate.

The nasal mucosa becomes swollen and inflamed (rhinitis) during upper respiratory infections and allergic reactions. Swelling of the mucosa occurs readily because of its vascularity. Infections of the nasal cavities may spread to the paranasal sinuses, lacrimal apparatus, and conjunctiva.