Aging of the normal nose in adults

Laryngoscope. 1996 Sep;106(9 Pt 2):1-25. doi: 10.1097/00005537-199609001-00001.


Like other organs, the nose changes as the body ages. A review of the literature reveals a basic understanding of the aging process in the nose but a paucity of documentation and few organized studies. This study was designed to identify systematically the agerelated changes in the normal, nondiseased adult nose. A nasal-sinus laboratory was created, and a computerized patient database was developed. Four separate investigations were conducted. First, 111 subjects ranging in age from 21 to 94 years of age were studied prospectively using 135 variables. The following data were collected: history, symptoms, physical examination, rhinomanometry, ciliary beat frequency, smell testing, and incentive spirometry. Second, photographs of a separate group of 105 subjects 20 to 86 years of age were studied to ascertain the facial cephalometric changes that occur with aging. Third, a histopathologic examination of the nasal septum was performed in 20 additional subjects to evaluate the cellular changes that accompany aging. Finally, an epidemiologic study analyzing the prevalence of various nasal complaints by age was conducted, based on a review of more than 11,000 patient charts from surgeries and office visits. A number of specific age-related changes in the nose were identified, including an increased likelihood of certain nasal complaints, a pattern of increasing airflow resistance, and a decrease in physical abnormalities in the nasopharynx. The appearance of the nose, as measured by the nasolabial angle and the height/length ratio, was also found to change with age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cephalometry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maxillofacial Development
  • Nose / anatomy & histology
  • Nose / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spirometry