Q: Dr. Eppley, For my otoplasty reversal another material you had mentioned in the office consultation that I am now interested in but I did not talk much about then is the use of irradiated rib cartilage. This material interests me in that it would be the closest in material to my own (rib) cartilage.From what I’ve read, when sourced well it can be as effective as autogenous rib cartilage, however on the longterm resorption is more common. What would your thoughts be on this irradiated homologous rib cartilage? Risks? Concerns? This seems like a material that would do well at holding the cartilage apart during the healing process and provide the needed projection for the middle support as it can be shaped to any size. It may be a more expensive material to source but that cost wouldn’t be a big concern for me as would finding the best material long term. I’m very interested to hear your thoughts and thank you for your time.
A: While resorption of irradiated cartilage is always a potential issue, this would be less relevant in an otoplasty reversal where the need for an outward pushing force probably does not need to be permanent. And although resorption can occur with irradiated cartilage it does not always occur and is usually partial and not complete. It does come in a nice wedge form of 1 cm width which is really perfect for otoplasty reversal. The only real drawback to using irradiated cartilage is its cost. At $1000 per piece the cost of irradiated cartilage in otoplasty reversal is over $2000 just for the material.
Dr. Barry Eppley