Rhinoplasty can accomplish a number of goals, including augmentation of the nose. Naturally, this type of procedure requires enough material from which to build up the nose, in the form of natural cartilage grafts or synthetic implants. While implants are an option, most surgeons prefer to use the patient’s own cartilage. However, some patients are concerned about whether or not they will have sufficient cartilage to graft from, given small features, previous surgery or other factors. The good news is that nearly everyone has enough cartilage to graft from, even those with small features.
Why Implants are Not Preferred
Some plastic surgeons use implants to build up the nose when there is no easy source of natural cartilage available. However, these implants are prone to a number of complications, and are not the preferred method for augmenting the nose in the United States.
Rhinoplasty results are intended to last a lifetime and, unfortunately, implants pose a higher infection risk than natural cartilage does. When a nasal implant becomes infected, of course, it must be removed; and another rhinoplasty must be performed. In addition, nasal implants have a high risk of extrusion, which can be caused by trauma. Natural grafts integrate themselves into the nose and have a very low complication rate.
Natural Sources of Cartilage
Fortunately, there are several natural sources for cartilage grafts, though some sources are preferred over others. There is nearly always a viable option for natural grafts, no matter what the circumstances. Rhinoplasty cartilage can be taken from:
1. The nasal septum
This is the preferred source of cartilage for rhinoplasty grafts. This is because the cartilage is best suited to the purpose for which it is intended, and because no other incisions need to be made in order to harvest the cartilage.
2. The ear
After the nose itself, the ear is the easiest place to harvest cartilage from. The scar is easily hidden, and a skilled surgeon will not take enough cartilage to alter the appearance of the ear greatly.
3. The rib
The rib is the least preferred source of cartilage, but it is plentiful and strong, and can be a good option for those with little nasal and ear cartilage to work with. Harvest may leave a scar on the chest, but a skilled surgeon should be able to hide this scar fairly well.
Revision Rhinoplasty Grafts
Because primary rhinoplasty nearly always requires a graft of some kind, often the preferred cartilage source is depleted by the primary procedure and cannot be used for a second surgery. This is another instance when some surgeons might turn to implants. However, revision rhinoplasty is extremely tricky, and every effort should be made to use natural grafts in secondary surgery as well.
Ethnic Rhinoplasty and Augmentation with Grafts
Many people who are worried about having enough cartilage to graft from are of Asian heritage. Since many Asian patients wish to augment their noses, it makes sense that this is a common concern. The most important factor in a successful rhinoplasty is going to an experienced surgeon who is confident in his or her ability to create an outcome the patient will be happy with.
A Specialist for Your Nose
For the best rhinoplasty outcome possible, it is vital to seek the services of a board certified doctor with a great deal of experience in all types of rhinoplasty. If you are concerned about your grafting options, do some research and know what you are comfortable with. Keep an open mind, but don’t let a surgeon talk you into an option you do not want to choose. If you are looking for the best in facial surgery in the Boston area, contact Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA to set up a consultation with acclaimed surgeon Dr. Stuart Bentkover. Dr. Bentkover specializes in rhinoplasty and works hard to provide each patient with the most beautiful and natural results possible. View his before and after rhinoplasty photos to see the excellent results that he achieves for his patients.