Atrophic rhinitis is a debilitating nasal mucosal disease of unknown etiology. It is characterized by progressive nasal mucosal atrophy, nasal crusting, fetor, and enlargement of the nasal space with paradoxical nasal congestion. Primary atrophic rhinitis has decreased markedly in incidence in the last century. This probably relates to the increased use of antibiotics for chronic nasal infection. Secondary atrophic rhinitis resulting from trauma, surgery granulomatous diseases, infection, and radiation exposure accounts for the majority of cases encountered by the rhinologist today. Excessive turbinate surgery has been both acquitted and accused in the literature as an etiology for secondary atrophic rhinitis. We saw 242 patients with the diagnosis of atrophic rhinitis between 1982 and 1999. The diagnosis was confirmed by physical examination, biopsy, and imaging studies. Patients were diagnosed with primary atrophic rhinitis if their condition developed in a previously healthy nose and secondary atrophic rhinitis if their condition developed after sinonasal surgery, trauma, or chronic granulomatous disease. Prevention and treatment of the disease is discussed.