Find information on medical topics, symptoms, drugs, procedures, news and more, written in everyday language.

* This is the Consumer Version. *

Introduction to Nose and Sinus Disorders

by Marvin P. Fried, MD

The upper part of the nose consists mostly of bone. The lower part of the nose gains its support from cartilage. Inside the nose is a hollow cavity (nasal cavity), which is divided into two passages by a thin sheet of cartilage and bone called the nasal septum. The bones of the face contain the paranasal sinuses, which are hollow cavities that open into the nasal cavity (see Nose and Sinuses).

Because of its prominent position, the nose is especially vulnerable to injury, including fractures (see Fractures of the Nose). Infections (see Bacterial Nasal Infections), nosebleeds (see Nosebleeds), objects (see Objects in the Nose), and polyps (see Nasal Polyps) also can affect the nose. The mucous membrane of the nose may become inflamed (rhinitis—see Rhinitis). This inflammation may spread to the lining of the sinuses (rhinosinusitis).