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Anatomy of the Nose

Understanding the anatomy of the nose will help us to understand what gives noses their distinctive appearances. The anatomy of the nose can be used to refer to the structure of the nose while discussing facial features. Dr. Rizk stresses the importance for any surgeon to understand the nose structure before performing rhinoplasty. This is necessary so that the surgeon can develop the rhinoplasty surgery plans according to the structure of the nose.

The nasal anatomy is very complicated. The support of your nose is made of nasal bones (which are not moveable and which you can feel between your eyelids) and of cartilage (which is moveable and makes up the support of the middle part and end of your nose (nasal tip). The space inside your nose is divided into two passages by your nasal septum. Your nasal cavities are lined with nasal mucous membrane, except for the areas just inside your nostrils, which are lined with skin and hair. The vertical structure between the two nostrils that attaches your nasal tip to your upper lip is called columella. The attachments of your nostrils on each side to your cheeks are called alae.

If your nasal septum is crooked or deviated because it grew that way, or because you suffered a nasal injury with a fracture of your nose and septum, then the outside shape of your nose may be crooked in the same way. A crooked nasal septum can also restrict breathing on one side or both sides of your nose. Sometimes, correcting a crooked nose not only enables you to breathe better but also reduces snoring.

A surgeon changes the shape of your nose by modifying or reducing the size or shape of the nasal cartilages and bones. Cartilage may be harvested from your nasal septum, your ear, or a rib if you need extra cartilage to replace or augment an injured or depressed area. Cartilage may be useful in improving the shape of your nasal tip.

The human nose is mainly composed of bones, cartilage and fibro fatty tissues. The external features of the nose depend upon the underlying bones and cartilage. Depending upon external features, human nose can be divided into the following types:

  1. Roman or aquiline
  2. Greek or straight
  3. Hawk
  4. Snub
  5. Nubian
  6. Turn up

The upper part of the nose consists mainly made of bones which act as a support structure. The portion of the nose near the eye sockets is made up of two nasal bones which join to form the nasal bridge. On the sides, nasal bones are connected with lateral process by a fibrous membrane and at the base; these nasal bones are connected with the nasal cartilage.

The lower part of the nose is made up of cartilages which are responsible for the shape of external features of the nose. The nose bridge and the septal cartilage form the nasal septum. This nasal septum separates the nostrils. The nostrils continue with nasal cavity. The turbinate or conchae are the bones that divide nasal cavity into air passages.

The diagram below explains the anatomy of the nose:

anatomy nose

Two lateral cartilages surround the septal nasal cartilage. Below the lateral nasal cartilage, the greater alar cartilage is present. This alar cartilage forms the lateral and medial walls of the nostrils. There are four lesser alar cartilages which along with the greater alar cartilage provide the overall shape to nostrils.

The nostrils and nasal cavity both have a lining of mucous membrane and cilia. The mucous membrane secretes the mucus which filters the air and along with cilia prevents microorganisms from entering the body. The face region around the nose contains sinuses which are hollow air cavities.

The nasal muscles are divided into four categories. These include elevators, depressors, compressors and dilators. These muscles are interconnected by what is called nasal superficial masculoaponuerotic system.

The surface anatomy of the nose can be divided into four classes. The frontal anatomy of the nose consists of glabella, nasion, tip defining points and alar sidewalls of the nose. The basal anatomy consists of columella, soft tissues, nostrils and infra tip lobule. The other two classes are the lateral and the oblique classes.

It is important that the anatomy of the nose be understood well by the surgeon who has to perform rhinoplasty so that the surgery can be performed successfully and all types of complications can be avoided. Dr. Rizk also points out that the structure of the nose must also be understood for revision rhinoplasty, in which the surgeon has to study how the nose looked like before the first surgery was performed.

DIAGRAMS: The blue area in the tip on all the diagrams denotes the tip cartilages (called Lower lateral cartilages). The upper part of bridge which (in white) is the bone and the middle beige part is the cartilaginous part of the bridge (created by dorsal septum and upper lateral cartilages).

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