There are three turbinate bones in each nasal fossa, with an anomalous fourth one present at times. They serve to keep the nasal passages moist and to act as a protective barrier against foreign bodies and other minute particles. Physiologically, they are closely related to the circulatory and neurogenic systems. Because of this, they are subject to a wide range of anatomic changes. In addition, the inferior and middle turbinates have a mechanical function. Anatomically, they are shelves suspended from the lateral nasal wall. In this way they serve as modified drain gutters conveying secretions in the proper direction. This mechanical directing influence is of paramount importance in relation to the secretions of the paranasal sinuses, whether these secretions be physiologic or pathologic.
A study of the nasal wall of a wet or dry anatomic specimen demonstrates readily the turbinate shelves, their influence on the directing of secretions
ZIEGELMAN EF. PATHOLOGIC LESIONS OF THE POSTERIOR TURBINATE TIPS: AN IMPROVED TECHNIC FOR THEIR REMOVAL. Arch Otolaryngol. 1932;15(2):261–267. doi:10.1001/archotol.1932.03570030278007
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