Definitions

esthetic surgery

Human nose

The visible part of the human nose is the protruding part of the face that bears the nostrils. The shape of the nose is determined by the ethmoid bone and the nasal septum, which consists mostly of cartilage and which separates the nostrils. Generally the nose of a male is larger than that of a female.

The nose has an area of specialised cells which are responsible for smelling (part of the olfactory system). Another function of the nose is the conditioning of inhaled air, warming it and making it more humid. Hairs inside the nose prevent large particles from entering the lungs. Sneezing is usually caused by foreign particles irritating the nasal mucosa, but can more rarely be caused by sudden exposure to bright light (called the photic sneeze reflex) or touching the external auditory canal. Sneezing is a means of transmitting infections because it creates aerosols in which the droplets can harbour microbes.

Related medical conditions

One of the most common medical conditions involving the nose are nosebleeds (in medicine: epistaxis). Most of them occur in Kiesselbach's area (synonym: Little's area). Nasal congestion is a common symptom of infections or other inflammations of the nasal lining (rhinitis), such as in allergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis (resulting from nasal spray abuse). Most of these conditions also cause anosmia, which is the medical term for a loss of smell. This may also occur in other conditions, for example following trauma, in Kallmann syndrome or Parkinson's disease.

Nose-picking is a common, mildly taboo habit. Medical risks include the spread of infections, nosebleeds and rarely self-induced perforation of the nasal septum. Nose fetishism (or nasophilia) is the sexual fetish (or paraphilia) for the nose. The psychiatric condition of extreme nose picking is termed rhinotillexomania.

Trauma of the nose (for example, during vaginal delivery) can result in a nasal fracture or nasal septum deviation. The nose is a common site of foreign bodies. The nose is susceptible to frostbite. Nasal flaring is a sign of respiratory distress that involves widening of the nostrils on inspiration.

Because of the special nature of the blood supply to the human nose and surrounding area, it is possible for retrograde infections from the nasal area to spread to the brain. For this reason, the area from the corners of the mouth to the bridge of the nose, including the nose and maxilla, is known to doctors as the danger triangle of the face.

A rhinoplasty is the medical term in plastic surgery for esthetic surgery of the nose (also known as a 'nose job').

Specific systemic diseases, infections or other conditions that may result in destruction of part of the nose (for example, the nasal bridge, or nasal septal perforation) are rhinophyma, skin cancer (for example, basal cell carcinoma), Wegener's granulomatosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, syphillis, leprosy and exposure to cocaine, chromium or toxins. The nose may be stimulated to grow in acromegaly.

Samter's triad is the simultaneous occurrence in a patient of asthma, nasal polyps and aspirin sensitivity.

Culture

Some people choose to get rhinoplasty to change the aesthetic appearance of their nose. Nose piercings are also common, such as nostril, septum or bridge.

In New Zealand, nose pressing ("hongi") is a traditional greeting amongst Maori people. However it is now generally confined to certain traditional celebrations.

Famous noses

Fictional characters

Historical persons

Actors and other celebrities

Record Breaking Noses

  • According to the Guinness Book of Records 2008, the largest nose belonged to Oliver Bahr Shermacher, born 6th of July 1995, with a complete nose surface area of 48.94cm2. He took the record from Dillan Thompson, with a complete nose surface area of 44.16cm2.

References

Further reading

  • Eden Warwick (pseudonym of George Jabet), Nasology, or hints towards a classification of Noses, London, Richard Bentley, 1848
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia, 1982

See also

External links

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