During both primary and revision rhinoplasty procedures, grafts are frequently used to strengthen the nose or improve its functionality. In most cases, grafts are made up of cartilage that is removed from the septum, although grafts can also be taken from the ear or occasionally, the ribs.
While grafts are routinely used for a number of purposes during rhinoplasty or revision rhinoplasty surgery, the best way to determine if you will need a graft for your surgery, is to discuss your needs with your facial plastic surgeon. The use of grafts are dependent on the issues being addressed during your rhinoplasty surgery and the goals of the procedure. The most common uses for cartilage grafts are outlined below.
Cartilage grafts are used to help support the structure of the nose. When patients chose to undergo rhinoplasty to refine or augment the tip of their nose, grafts may be necessary to provide support and maintain the projection of the nose. This is particularly true for patients who have a long, thin nose, as it may be more susceptible to collapse or in the case of an individual whose natural nose is quite pinched or narrow. While some patients may at first be uncomfortable with the thought of cartilage grafting, if performed by a skilled and experienced facial plastic surgeon, the graft will remain undetected.
Without the use of a graft, there is a risk that when the remaining side walls are brought together, the nasal valve will be too narrow and will therefore negatively impact the patient’s breathing. To mitigate this risk, narrow grafts can be placed on either side between the septum and the top of the upper lateral cartilage. These grafts prevent a breathing problem from developing, while also improving the appearance of the nose, enabling the surgeon to straighten or lengthen the nose, as desired.
While grafts are frequently used for aesthetic purposes, due to their ability to provide shape to the nose, they also serve a crucial functional purpose. In many cases, removing tissue from the septum to use for grafts helps to improve breathing by straightening out or widening the airway. If your rhinoplasty specialist recommends using grafts to prevent a breathing issue in the future, it is imperative to follow their advice, as you will not notice when grafts are used, but would undoubtedly notice their absence your ability to breathe was impacted postoperatively.
The best way to determine whether you would benefit from the use of grafts during your rhinoplasty is to discuss your concerns with your rhinoplasty surgeon. During your initial consultation, Dr. Philip Solomon will perform a thorough examination and assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of using a graft.
Spreader grafts, which are utilized to widen the middle vault of the nose, are frequently required when rhinoplasty is performed to remove a dorsal hump. When a nasal hump is removed, segments of the septum, upper lateral cartilage and nasal bones must also be removed from the middle third of the nose, an area which plays a large role in the patient’s ability to breathe.
For more information about rhinoplasty surgery, please contact us at 905-764-7799 at The Solomon Nasal and Facial Plastic Surgery Centre in Thornhill, just north of Toronto.
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