Septum nasal

Article

May 23, 2022

The nasal septum (or septum of the nasal cavities) is the middle partition separating the right and left nasal cavities.

Description

The nasal septum is a vertical medial wall composed of a bony part and a cartilaginous part. It is covered by the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity. The mucous membrane is olfactory in its upper part. In its anterior and lower part is the orifice of the vomeronasal organ and the Kiesselbach area. The cutaneous-cartilaginous anterior end of the nasal septum is called the nasal columella. It is normally about 2mm thick.

Bone part

The bony part is the posterior part of the nasal septum. It is constituted above by the perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone and below by the vomer.

Cartilaginous part

The cartilaginous part is the anterior part of the nasal septum and is made up over its entire height by the septal cartilage of the nose.

Embryology

The septum of the nose arises from a plate of cartilage. The posterior-superior part of this cartilage ossifies to form the perpendicular lamina of the ethmoid bone. Its antero-inferior part persists as the septal cartilage of the nose. Two centers of ossification appear around the eighth week of fetal life in the postero-inferior part and on either side of the membrane and form two bone laminae. Around the third month, these two laminae unite creating a deep groove in which the cartilage is lodged. As growth proceeds, the union of the bony laminae extends upwards and forwards with the disappearance of the intercalary cartilage to form the vomer. At the onset of puberty the laminae are almost completely united to form a medial plate, but traces of the bilaminar origin of the bone are visible at the wings of the vomer. From the age of 7 the septum frequently deviates to the right without this being pathological.

Clinical aspect

There may be a deviation of the nasal septum either during its growth, or traumatic. Too pronounced a deviation can impair respiratory function. For functional or aesthetic reasons, it is possible to perform septoplasty, a surgical procedure consisting of straightening the nasal septum. The nasal septum can be perforated by an ulcer, trauma, long-term exposure to welding fumes, or cocaine use. A silicone button can be inserted into the hole to close the perforation. The nasal septum can be affected by both benign tumors such as fibroids and hemangiomas and malignant tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma.

Notes and References

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