Nasal Structure New Jersey
The external nose as we see it on each other, is made up of bone, cartilage, and the overlying skin. The nasal bones comprise only the upper 1/3 of the nasal structure. These are the bones that people often refer to when they describe having to “break the nose”. You can feel these on yourself as the firm upper part of the nose that begins between the eyes. As you move down, the lower 2/3 of the nose starts to feel softer and malleable as this part is made completely from flexible cartilage. More specifically, this section is made from 4 essential pieces of cartilage that support the overlying skin and determine the shape of the nose, as well as play an important part in nasal function. These cartilages are all supported in the center by one of the most important nasal structures; the nasal septum.
To help understand this shape and the septum, image that the nose is a tent, with the skin acting as a blanket laying on top of the cartilages, which are the frame work supporting the tent. The septum in this case is a wall that runs down the middle of this tent, separating it into a right and a left side, and supports the cartilages in the middle. Just like a tent, if the septum was removed, the cartilages (and overlying skin) would collapse in at the center.
The skin itself is also very important to nasal structure. The characteristics of ones skin, especially relative to the cartilages, will determine how it drapes over the cartilages. To go back to the tent analogy, imagine using a very thick and heavy material to create a tent. In this case, you would not really be able to see the fine definition of the tent shape, and if the support (cartilages) are not strong enough, the tent may even sag down. Alternatively, if you use a very thin sheet, each and every aspect of the support structure would be seen from the outside.
Although this is a simplified explanation of nasal structure, it does explain the very basic foundation of the nasal shape, and I hope it helps you understand the nose a little better. The complex issues are due to the fact that there is a very wide variety of shapes and sizes of the nasal bones and cartilages. The cartilages themselves even have subsections, and small changes in the shape, orientation, thickness, and strength of each subsection yields a different nasal shape. The septum and the nasal bones also differ in their shape, size, and orientation, leading primarily to effects on the nasal profile (the bridge) and straightness.