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Original Investigation
October 06, 2016

Yield Strength Testing in Human Cadaver Nasal Septal Cartilage and L-Strut Constructs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, California
  • 2medical student at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, California

Copyright 2017 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Facial Plast Surg. Published online October 6, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2016.1180

Importance  To our knowledge, yield strength testing in human nasal septal cartilage has not been reported to date. An understanding of the basic mechanics of the nasal septum may help surgeons decide how much of an L-strut to preserve and how much grafting is needed.

Objectives  To determine the factors correlated with yield strength of the cartilaginous nasal septum and to explore the association between L-strut width and thickness in determining yield strength.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In an anatomy laboratory, yield strength of rectangular pieces of fresh cadaver nasal septal cartilage was measured, and regression was performed to identify the factors correlated with yield strength. To measure yield strength in L-shaped models, 4 bonded paper L-struts models were constructed for every possible combination of the width and thickness, for a total of 240 models. Mathematical modeling using the resultant data with trend lines and surface fitting was performed to quantify the associations among L-strut width, thickness, and yield strength. The study dates were November 1, 2015, to April 1, 2016.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The factors correlated with nasal cartilage yield strength and the associations among L-strut width, thickness, and yield strength in L-shaped models.

Results  Among 95 cartilage pieces from 12 human cadavers (mean [SD] age, 67.7 [12.6] years) and 240 constructed L-strut models, L-strut thickness was the only factor correlated with nasal septal cartilage yield strength (coefficient for thickness, 5.54; 95% CI, 4.08-7.00; P < .001), with an adjusted R2 correlation coefficient of 0.37. The mean (SD) yield strength R2 varied with L-strut thickness exponentially (0.93 [0.06]) for set widths, and it varied with L-strut width linearly (0.82 [0.11]) or logarithmically (0.85 [0.17]) for set thicknesses. A 3-dimensional surface model of yield strength with L-strut width and thickness as variables was created using a 2-dimensional gaussian function (adjusted R2 = 0.94). Estimated yield strengths were generated from the model to allow determination of the desired yield strength with different permutations of L-strut width and thickness.

Conclusions and Relevance  In this study of human cadaver nasal septal cartilage, L-strut thickness was significantly associated with yield strength. In a bonded paper L-strut model, L-strut thickness had a more important role in determining yield strength than L-strut width. Surgeons should consider the thickness of potential L-struts when determining the amount of cartilaginous septum to harvest and graft.

Level of Evidence  NA.