Nose & Nasal Cavity

Sagittal view of the head and neck highlighting the position of the nose (blue highlight)

The nose is the first component of the respiratory system, as it allows the air to enter the airways. The nose thus facilitates intake of oxygen and discharge of carbon dioxide and also contains the receptors for the sense of smell.

The external nose is pyramidal in shape, with its root being continuous with the forehead. The root is continued by the dorsum, which terminates at the tip of the nose called apex. On each side of the midline is a nostril (nare), which represents the entrance to the nasal cavity.

The nasal cavity is the internal part of the nose. It is divided into two halves by the nasal septum. Anterior openings of the cavity are the nostrils. Posteriorly, the cavity communicates with the pharynx via openings called choanae. The nasal cavity is lined with mucous membranes that help to moisten, warm, and filter air being taken in.

Learn the anatomy of the nose and nasal cavity using interactive animations and labeled diagrams below. Get the full respiratory system revision guide.