Human nose

Human nose
Fort Ross Elena wearing Traditional Russian Costume (cropped).jpg
View of human nose from Eurasia
Head Olfactory Nerve Labeled.png
Cross-section of the interior of a nose showing parts involved in smell (olfaction)
Details
Arterysphenopalatine artery, greater palatine artery
Veinfacial vein
Nerveexternal nasal nerve
Identifiers
Latinnasus
MeSHD009666
TA98A06.1.01.001
A01.1.00.009
TA2117
FMA46472
Anatomical terminology

The human nose is the most protruding part of the face. It bears the nostrils and is the first organ of the respiratory system. It is also the principal organ in the olfactory system. The shape of the nose is determined by the nasal bones and the nasal cartilages, including the nasal septum which separates the nostrils and divides the nasal cavity into two. On average the nose of a male is larger than that of a female.

The nose has an important function in breathing. The nasal mucosa lining the nasal cavity and the paranasal sinuses carries out the necessary conditioning of inhaled air by warming and moistening it. Nasal conchae, shell-like bones in the walls of the cavities, play a major part in this process. Filtering of the air by nasal hair in the nostrils prevents large particles from entering the lungs. Sneezing is a reflex to expel unwanted particles from the nose that irritate the mucosal lining. Sneezing can transmit infections, because aerosols are created in which the droplets can harbour pathogens.

Another major function of the nose is olfaction, the sense of smell. The area of olfactory epithelium, in the upper nasal cavity, contains specialised olfactory cells responsible for this function.

The nose is also involved in the function of speech. Nasal vowels and nasal consonants are produced in the process of nasalisation. The hollow cavities of the paranasal sinuses act as sound chambers that modify and amplify speech and other vocal sounds.

There are several plastic surgery procedures that can be done on the nose, known as rhinoplasties available to correct various structural defects or to change the shape of the nose. Defects may be congenital, or result from nasal disorders or from trauma. These procedures are a type of reconstructive surgery. Elective procedures to change a nose shape are a type of cosmetic surgery.


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