AskDefine | Define turbinate

Dictionary Definition

turbinate adj
1 of or relating to the scroll-shaped turbinate bones in the nasal passages
2 in the shape of a coil [syn: coiling, helical, spiral, spiraling, volute, voluted, whorled] n : any of the scrolled spongy bones of the nasal passages in man and other vertebrates [syn: turbinate bone, turbinal]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Shaped or spinning like a top.
  2. In the shape of a coil.
  3. Spiral and decreasing sharply in diameter from base to apex. Used especially of shells.
  4. Of, or relating to, the turbinate bone.






  1. Form of Second-person plural present tense, turbinare
  2. Form of Second-person plural imperative, turbinare#Italian|turbinare

Extensive Definition

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.

Structure and functions of turbinates

Turbinates are composed of pseudostratified columnar, ciliated respiratory epithelium with a thick, vascular and erectile glandular tissue layer. The turbinates are located laterally in the nasal cavities, curling medially and downwards into the nasal airway. Each pair is composed of one turbinate in either side of the nasal cavity, divided by the septum.
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. Generally, because the turbinates are essential for respiration, only small amounts of turbinate tissue are removed. Extensive reduction of the inferior or middle turbinates can cause empty nose syndrome.

Additional images

Image:Concha nasalis.gif|Nasal conchae: Blocked/free Image:NormalNose-CT-Front-cross-section-common-wiki.jpg|Normal Nose CT Front cross section Image:Right-nasal-airway-passage.jpg|Right nasal airway passage


turbinate in Estonian: Koaanid
turbinate in French: Cornet nasal
turbinate in Hebrew: קונכיות האף
turbinate in Italian: Turbinati
turbinate in Japanese: 鼻甲介
turbinate in Dutch: Neusschelp
turbinate in Portuguese: Concha nasal
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