In anatomy, a turbinate (or nasal concha) is a long, narrow and curled bone shelf (shaped like an elongated sea-shell) which protrudes into the breathing passage of the nose. Turbinate bone refers to any of the scrolled spongy bones of the nasal passages in humans and other vertebrates.
In humans, the turbinates divide the nasal airway into three groove-like air passages –and are responsible for forcing inhaled air to flow in a steady, regular pattern around the largest possible surface of cilia and climate controlling tissue.
The inferior turbinates are the largest turbinates, and can be as long as the index finger, and are responsible for the majority of airflow direction, humidification, heating, and filtering of air inhaled through the nose.
The middle turbinates are smaller, usually as long as the little finger. They project downwards over the openings of the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses, and act as buffers to protect the sinuses from coming in direct contact with pressurized nasal airflow. Most inhaled airflow travels between the inferior turbinate and the middle turbinate.
The turbinates are also responsible for filtration, heating and humidification of air inhaled through the nose. Of these three, filtration is the most important reason to breathe through the nose. As air passes over the turbinate tissues it is heated to body temperature, humidified (up to 98% water saturation) and filtered.
The superior turbinates literally hood-over, and protect the nerve axons piercing through the cribriform plate (a porous bone plate that separates the nose from the brain) into the nose. Some areas of the middle turbinates are also innervated by the olfactory bulb. All three turbinates are innervated by pain and temperature receptors, via the trigeminal nerve (or, the fifth cranial nerve). Research has shown that there is a strong connection between these nerve endings and activation of the olfactory receptors, but science has yet to fully explain this interaction.
Treatment of the underlying allergy or irritant may reduce turbinate swelling. In cases that do not resolve, or for treatment of deviated septum, turbinate reduction surgery may be required. Bipolar radiofrequency ablation, a technique used for coblation tonsillectomy, is also used for the treatment of swollen turbinates. Generally, because the turbinates are essential for respiration, only small amounts of turbinate tissue should be removed. Extensive reduction of the inferior or middle turbinates can cause empty nose syndrome.
Research conducted at Selcuk University has provided new information about pediatrics and otorhinolaryngology.
Aug 28, 2010; According to recent research published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, "It was aimed to research...