Revision Rhinoplasty Cartilage Graft

Published on January 28, 2016

What’s It Like To Get A Revision Rhinoplasty Cartilage Graft?

When a previous surgery leaves your nose cartilage looking deformed, a revision rhinoplasty cartilage graft can restore the form and the function of your nose without the need for an implant. If you’re planning a revision rhinoplasty surgery and think you might require a cartilage graft, this article is for you, but doesn’t replace a consultation with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and rhinoplasty specialist who can help you determine what type of revision surgery you will need.

Revision Rhinoplasty Cartilage Graft: Using ear cartilage or rib cartilage to repair the nose

When a facial plastic surgeon determines that a revision procedure is necessary after a botched primary rhinoplasty surgery, they will look at the nose from two vantage points: form and function. Form is the aesthetic look of your nose and function is how the nose works for you (can you breathe easily through it, or are you now more susceptible to sinus infections, etc…)

During these consultations, your surgeon may inform you that you will require a cartilage graft. This means that, during the primary surgery, too much cartilage was removed from your nose and must now be replaced. While there are implants that can be used, most patients and surgeons agree that using living cartilage will yield the best results.

While there are new technologies showing that we can now grow living cartilage and shape it perfectly using 3d printing technology, this is not yet widely available. For now, facial plastic surgeons must utilize your own cartilage harvested from your ear or ribs in order to restore your nose’s shape and functionality.

Revision Rhinoplasty with Ear Cartilage Grafts

Your ear is a prime location because of its pliable yet sturdy cartilage. Using ear cartilage nearly eliminates the possibility of warping. Fortunately, taking even a considerable amount of cartilage from your ear does not result in significant visible changes in its appearance.

In this simple procedure, a small incision is made on the inside of the antihelical fold, which is the outermost fold spanning the top and outer side of the ear. Whenever a patient has one ear that protrudes slightly more than the other, the cartilage is always taken from the protruding ear to ensure the most even look. Another consideration of the surgeon is which side you normally sleep on. For example, if you prefer to sleep on your left side, the revision rhinoplasty cartilage graft will be taken from the right ear.

Most people have an antihelical fold; however, if this fold is abnormal or damaged, your surgeon may opt to harvest cartilage from your ribs to complete the procedure.

Revision Rhinoplasty with Rib Cartilage

The main advantage of using rib cartilage is that there is an abundant supply of it. Rib cartilage is very strong, and surgeons are able to easily find long pieces of it. If the surgeon deems it necessary to also harvest some bone in addition to conducting the revision rhinoplasty cartilage graft, this can be done easily on the rib area at the same time. A small incision is made in your rib cage to remove the graft. Although this procedure typically takes longer than an ear cartilage removal, it is also routine for a skilled surgeon.

What To Expect Before And After a Revision Rhinoplasty Cartilage Graft

It is important to follow your facial plastic surgeon’s instructions for pre-surgical care. A preoperative care packet will be given to you after a consultation to plan the surgery. Be sure to avoid any specified medications, and have a thermometer handy to monitor for a fever after surgery. Dr. Hecht will use general anesthesia to ensure comfort during the procedure, so you will need someone to bring you to your surgery and take you home to monitor and care for you in the first 24 hours. When the surgery is over, be sure to follow all of the surgeon’s instructions. Some swelling on your nose is normal for a while after the procedure. However, it will disappear over time.

To learn more about a revision rhinoplasty cartilage graft or to set up a consultation to discuss your revision rhinoplasty needs, please contact our office and set up an appointment with Scottsdale’s revision rhinoplasty specialist Dr. David A. Hecht.

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