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What Is the Nasal Vestibule?

By Paul Cartmell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The nasal vestibule is the pear-shaped cavity that lies directly behind the nostrils of the nose. Nasal vestibules are constructed from the same materials as human skin with hairs protruding from cells that act as filters to stop dust particles and pollutants passing into the respiratory system. Infections are common in the base of the hairs within the vestibule and can lead to serious illnesses.

External nares, or nostrils, lead into the nasal vestibule, which is the entrance to the nasal cavity behind the vestibule. The parts of the nose that border the vestibule are the columella, nasal septum, lower lateral cartilage, and pre-maxilla. Limen nasi marks the end of the nasal vestibule, the junction of the lower and upper cartilage within the nose.

Within the nose, the lining of the nasal vestibule is made up of stratified squamous epithelium that also makes up the skin of the human body. Skin cells in the vestibule are made up of a large number of layers of skin that bear long hairs for filtering materials drawn into the nose while breathing. Nasal hairs are also known as vibrissae that are lined with mucus for catching particles passing into the nose. One of the major dangers for the nose is the large amount of external materials to which it is exposed.

Nasal vestibulitis is the infection of the vestibule inside the opening of the nostril. Small infections are common within the nasal vestibule that are usually caused by bacteria called staphylococcus. Symptoms of infection are characterized by small pimples around the base of nasal hairs. Causes of these small infections include the picking of the nose and excessive blowing to remove mucus.

More serious infections that cause problems with the vestibule often result in boils beneath the surface of the skin spreading from the tip of the nose. Veins travel from around the nose to the brain, creating the possibility of serious vestibule infections spreading to the brain. Treatments for vestibulitis begin with antibiotic ointments and progress in serious cases to surgery to drain the fluid from boils.

Cancerous cells are rare within the nasal vestibule accounting for only one percent of the cancers of the head and neck. Tumors found in the vestibule are made up of the same materials as skin cancer tumors and are related closely to squamous cell skin cancers. Nasal cavity and vestibule tumors are created from different materials and are treated and diagnosed differently to each other.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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