Nasal concha

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The nasal conchae are long, narrow curled shelves of bone that protrude into the nasal cavity. The superior, middle and inferior conchae divide the nasal cavity into three groove-like air passages.

The conchae are located laterally in the nasal cavity and covered by pseudostratified columnar, ciliated respiratory epithelium with a thick, vascular and erectile glandular tissue layer. Each pair is composed of one concha that curls medially and downwards in either side of the nasal cavity, separated by the septum:

  • inferior conchae: these are the largest conchae and may be as long as the index finger; they are responsible for the majority of airflow direction, humidification, heating and filtering of air inhaled through the nose
  • middle conchae: small and usually as long as the 5th finger; they project downwards over the openings of the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses and act as buffers to protect the sinuses from pressurised nasal airflow
  • superior conchae: the smallest of the conchae, connected to the middle conchae by nerve-endings and server to protect the olfactory bulb
Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 4781
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Nasal conchae

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