Supportive Cartilages and Bones of the Nose
Turbinate Bones (Nasal Conchae)
The turbinates (turbinate bones or nasal conchae) are thin, curved, bony plates that project from the walls of the nasal cavity into the respiratory passageway.
There are three (3) turbinates on each side of the nasal cavity, and all are covered by a thick layer of mucous membrane (= respiratory or nasal mucosa):
- The smaller superior and middle turbinates are downward extensions of the ethmoid bone. The larger inferior turbinates are individual bones that attach to the maxilla bone. Each extends horizontally along the lateral wall of the nasal cavity and adds surface area to the passageway.
- Grooves (or indentations) called meatuses are found between the curved turbinates. The curved shapes of the turbinates and meatuses are best viewed in coronal section.
- During inhalation, air is directed (see the image below) over and under the turbinates. The surface mucosa conditions or prepares the air so it can safely travel into the lungs.