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Using Cartilage Grafts in Rhinoplasty

Published on May 16, 2019

For many people, the look of the nose is the cause of a number of aesthetic issues. When part of the nose is out of proportion, it affects not only the appearance of the nose but of the entire face.

If you would like to reshape your nose for a more natural and attractive appearance, you may need rhinoplasty surgery. Part of this operation may be the addition of cartilage grafts.

Cartilage Grafts

A graft is a section of tissue that is taken out of the body, altered, and then placed in another area of the body to achieve functional and/or aesthetic medical goals. In rhinoplasty, a cartilage graft is shaped cartilage used to straighten or build up parts of the nose or to fill in missing cartilage.

The Graft Creation Process

Cartilage is harvested from one of three areas of the patient’s body:

• The ear (conchal cartilage)
• The septum (septal cartilage)
• The ribs (costal cartilage)

Septal cartilage is more pliable than conchal and costal cartilage, which are thicker and stiffer types of cartilage. The best type to use for your case will depend on the issue you are trying to correct.

After harvesting enough cartilage from the chosen regions, Dr. Somenek crafts the cartilage into shapes and then sews the pieces together to shape a graft. As you might expect, this process requires a high degree of care and precision.

Surgeons have two chances at most to sew the pieces of cartilage together. If the surgeon makes any mistakes, the cartilage can crack, making it useless. Because of this, it’s key that you choose an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Somenek for the job.

Dr. Somenek considers various factors when using cartilage grafts in rhinoplasty. The overall balance and symmetry of the face is taken into account, which in turn depends on the proportions of the patient’s other facial features. The ideal placement of the grafts is key.

What Can Grafts Be Used to Correct?

Cartilage grafts enable Dr. Somenek to make many types of changes to the nasal architecture:

• If you have a shorter tip of the nose, you may be in need of a shield graft. This graft creates more length for the nasal tip and is shield-shaped.

• Patients experiencing breathing issues as a result of a nasal valve collapse may benefit from a lateral crural strut graft, an alar batten graft, or a spreader graft. Spreader grafts are also very useful for addressing the inverted-V nasal malformation.

• A drooping nasal tip can be lifted using a columellar strut graft.

• When areas of the nose are too short or small, a caudal extension graft may be used to bolster these areas. This graft can also be excellent for changing the direction of the nasal tip.

• Saddle nose is a type of deformity that results from a septal collapse. To treat this, dorsal augmentation grafts or radix grafts may be used.

• If a nasal tip is too long, plumping grafts beneath the columella change the proportions of the region to shorten the tip’s appearance.

Which Graft Is Right for You?

To learn more about the methods that will be used during your rhinoplasty surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Somenek, a double-board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Contact our office today to arrange your consultation.

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