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Nasal Cancer

Understanding the Anatomy

The inside of the nose is called the nasal cavity. It is actually bigger than many people think, and it has many structures inside it. At the most basic level, there is a left and right nasal cavity. The sides are separated by the nasal septum. The nasal cavity on each side opens into the nasopharynx through the choana.

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44-1 Nasal Anatomy

The parts (or subsites) of the nasal cavity include:

  • Vestibule: This is basically the inner nostril. More specifically, it starts on the skin of the nostril at the very edge and stops where the skin transitions into the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity.
  • Septum: This is the wall in the middle of the nose that separates the left nasal cavity from the right nasal cavity. It is made up of cartilage and bone. At the top, it joins up with the bones of the base of skull.
  • Floor: This is what it sounds like—the bottom part of the nasal cavity all the way back to the nasopharynx.
  • Lateral wall: This is the side wall of the nasal cavity. It has structures on the side called turbinates (also called conchae). There are inferior (lower), middle and superior (upper) turbinates. Sometimes there is a fourth, even higher, turbinate, which is called the supreme turbinate. The lateral wall is where the sinuses and tear duct open into the nasal cavity.
References

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8 Marcus DM, Marcus RP, Prabhu RS, Owonikoko TK, Lawson DH, Switchenko J, Beitler JJ. Rising incidence of mucosal melanoma of the head and neck in the United States. J Skin Cancer. 2012;2012:231693. doi: 10.1155/2012/231693. Epub 2012 Dec 2.

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13 Referenced with permission from The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Head and Neck Cancers V.2.2016. © National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc 2016. All rights reserved. Accessed December 6, 2016. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to www.NCCN.org.

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