Rhinoplasty and Cartilage Grafts: How Surgical Techniques Work

When a person undergoes a rhinoplasty (nose job), the results can be extraordinary. The overall symmetry and appearance of the face may be greatly enhanced. Often, this means added balance or improved prominence to various facial features, translating into improved confidence and a better sense of self.

The team at our San Mateo, CA plastic surgery center carefully weighs all techniques and surgical options when performing the surgery. While a lot of the procedure involves reshaping and removing certain tissues from the nose, there are cases in which we carefully add tissue to achieve the best results. With that in mind, let's consider how surgical grafting techniques play a part in rhinoplasty.

Grafts In Rhinoplasty: What Does It Mean?

A graft refers to tissue taken from one part of the body in order to be placed into another part of the body. You may be familiar with the idea of reconstructive skin grafts for burn victims, which takes healthy skin from one part of the body and places that skin over the damaged skin.

When using grafts in a rhinoplasty, surgeons use small amounts of harvested cartilage in order to help reshape the nose.

When Are Grafts Used During Rhinoplasty?

Grafts tend to be a good idea when trying to change the shape of the tip of the nose as well as other structures of the bridge and middle third of the nose. The grafts act as support structures for the other tissues of the nose, acting in concert to achieve final results of surgery.

Keep in mind that cartilage grafts are not always needed during a rhinoplasty.

Where Is the Cartilage Harvested From?

Whenever possible, it's ideal for plastic surgeons to use cartilage from the nose itself for any needed grafts. Since removing cartilage and other tissue from the nose is common during rhinoplasty, there will usually be some healthy cartilage to use during the procedure. 

If surgeons cannot harvest sufficient cartilage from the nose, it's possible for cartilage to be taken from other parts of the body, such as the ear or around the ribs. Generally speaking, cartilage from the ear is preferable to cartilage from the rib area.

Are There Risks When Using Grafts during Rhinoplasty?

Yes, though risks are common to all kinds of surgeries.

Specifically with regard to grafts, the primary risks to consider involve the potential for the grafts to warp or thin out over time, which can affect long-term results of rhinoplasty. The same is true when it comes to the way the cartilage affects the movement of the nose if pushed or pressed and whether or not that appears natural.

The Results of Rhinoplasty When Using Grafts

In the vast majority of cases, the results of rhinoplasty with grafts are exceptional. Patients heal properly, and the outcomes appear totally natural.

Since cartilage is used to alter the shape and appearance of the nose, there is no unnatural stiffness associated with synthetic implants or other materials. The cartilage tends to be normally integrated with the existing structures of the nose, which helps ensure good long-term results.

Learn More about Rhinoplasty

For more information about rhinoplasty and how it can help you achieve your aesthetic goals, be sure to contact an experienced plastic surgeon today. We will discuss your treatment options in full detail and ensure you understand the risks and benefits of the procedure.

September 21, 2017 - by: Dr. John Griffin | TOPICS: Face