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Original Investigation
May/Jun 2016

Reconstructive Rhinoplasty Using Multiplanar Carved Costal Cartilage

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Facial Plastic Surgery, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • 3Department of Otolaryngology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2016;18(3):207-211. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2015.2251

Importance  Reconstructive rhinoplasty often requires the use of cartilage grafts. Full-thickness autologous costal cartilage grafts provide a large amount of cartilage in a single uncarved block and are often used for major reconstructions. Warping is frequently described as a complication of rib cartilage use in rhinoplasty.

Objective  To describe an approach to cartilage carving whereby a single block of cartilage is carved in a multiplanar manner to mimic or redefine the anatomic relationships and resist warping.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A retrospective review of reconstructive rhinoplasty cases using multiplanar costal cartilage grafting technique was performed. A consecutive sample of 11 patients with complex nasal deformity underwent reconstruction with an autologous costal cartilage block carved in 3 dimensions to address complex deformities at the University of New Mexico Hospital between January 2010 and December 2014. The follow-up period ranged from 3 to 36 months.

Interventions  Autologous rib cartilage harvest was performed to obtain a full-thickness segment of rib cartilage. The deficient or malformed nasal cartilage is defined and soft tissue prepared using an open rhinoplasty approach. Rib cartilage graft curvature is removed to create a uniform, symmetric, solid block of cartilage. A cartilage graft is carved in a multiplanar fashion to simulate normal nasal anatomy.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Postoperative evaluation of nasal airway function, cartilage graft warping, and aesthetic outcomes were reported in the follow-up period. Nasal Obstructive Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) scores are documented in the majority of cases and were obtained at least 3 months postoperatively.

Results  Overall, 11 patients with complex nasal deformity underwent reconstruction with an autologous costal cartilage block carved in 3 dimensions. The most common use was for reconstruction of the septum with the upper lateral cartilage. There were no major complications. No patients experienced graft warping in the follow-up period. Several patients required minor revision procedures. All patients reported improved nasal airway and improved aesthetic appearance of the nose.

Conclusions and Relevance  Multiplanar costal cartilage grafting is a useful surgical technique for complex reconstructive rhinoplasty that yields optimal and predictable results.

Level of Evidence  4.