Center for Minimally-invasive Surgery of the Nose, the Sinuses and the anterior Skull Base

Nasal Turbinates

The nasal turbinates (Fig. 1 and 2) are also found on the lateral or side walls of the interior of the nose.

There are three turbinates-inferior, middle and superior turbinate-on each side. The inferior turbinates are most important because they are the largest, have the richest vascular supply and are most exposed to the inhaled air. The turbinates regulate the temperature of inhaled air through alternations int heir own blood supply; their moist mucosa controls the air’s relative humidity.

Fig. 1 – Bony, spur-like septal deviation to left side. In addition, the inferior and middle turbinates are seen. 
Courtesy of Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart R. Probst / G. Grevers / H. Iro Basic Otorhinolaryngology 2006
(Legends above in picture: 
1. Middle turbinate, 
2. Septum, 
3. Inferior turbinate)

Fig. 2 – Computer tomographic (CT) scan of nasal cavity and some of the sinus cavities. The middle and inferior turbinates are easily visualized. The nasal septum is the thin structure in the middle between the coiled turbinates. 
Courtesy of Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart R. Probst / G. Grevers / H. Iro Basic Otorhinolaryngology 2006
(Legends above in picture:
1. Middle turbinate
2. Inferior turbinate)

The inferior turbinates are affected by a variety of diseases, especially allergies and can become enlarged (Fig. 3) leading to nasal airway obstruction.

Fig. 3 – Enlarged thickened turbinates in patient with allergic rhinitis. The swelling impairs nasal breathing. 
G. Grevers