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April 1994

Vertical Dome Division in Open Rhinoplasty: An Update on Indications, Techniques, and Results

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto (Ontario). For current affiliations, see acknowledgment section.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120(4):373-380. doi:10.1001/archotol.1994.01880280003001

Objective:  A new modification of vertical dome division (VDD) in rhinoplasty using cartilage overlap and suturing to reestablish the integrity of the alar cartilages is analyzed and compared with the more standard technique of cartilage resection and suturing.

Design:  Retrospective before-and-after trial.

Setting:  Private patients of one of the authors (P.A.A.) undergoing surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology of the University of Toronto (Ontario).

Patients:  A consecutive sample of 116 patients having undergone open rhinoplasty with VDD between 1981 and 1990 were evaluated. Seventy-five had VDD before 1987, when a cartilage resection and suturing technique was used (P.A.A.); 41 had their surgery after 1987, with the cartilage overlap and suturing technique. All patients were available for follow-up. The mean follow-up time was 15.2 months, with a range of 6 to 63 months.

Intervention:  Indications for VDD were lobule asymmetry (47%), retrodisplacement (24%), wide domal arch (22%), hanging infratip lobule (6%), and rotation (1%). Prior to 1987, VDD was performed by dividing the alar cartilages, resecting certain portions, and then suturing the cartilages together again to recreate the alar margin. After 1987, VDD was revised by overlapping the portions of cartilage that would have been previously resected and suturing the overlapping portions to recreate the alar margin.

Main Outcome Measures:  Patient satisfaction; physician evaluation; physical examination; blinded comparison of preoperative and postoperative photographs; need for revision surgery.

Results:  Overall, six (5.0%) of 116 patients required revision surgery or had photographic and/or physical evidence of nasal tip irregularities. Three (4.0%) of 75 patients from the cartilage excision group and one (2.4%) of 41 patients from the overlap group required revision surgery. The other two patients, one in each group, had minor tip irregularities not requiring surgery. The tip irregularities were due to nasal bossae in four patients and lobule asymmetries in two. There was no alar notching or lower nasal third pinching. Tip irregularities were three times as likely to occur in patients presenting for revision rhinoplasty than in those for primary rhinoplasty.

Conclusions:  Vertical dome division is a powerful tool in rhinoplasty, allowing for complex manipulations of alar cartilages to selectively enhance projection, rotation, and domal arch width. It also allows for correction of lobule asymmetries and elongation or hanging of the infratip lobule. The cartilage overlap technique reduces the occurrence of several common postoperative tip abnormalities and lowers the need for revision surgery when compared with cartilage resection VDD. The reported results can only be considered trends, as sample sizes in the series were too small to allow for statistical significance.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120:373-380)

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