Which Is Better in Rhinoplasty – Solid or Diced Rib Grafts?

Q:  Dear Dr. Eppley, Do you mind sharing some advises of yours regarding to diced cartilage for nose jobs? What is the main difference between a piece of rib cartilage being place directly to augment the bridge and injecting fine diced rib cartilage into the bridge as well? Are the side effects of using this ‘diced cartilage’ technique be higher too? Lastly, are there any limitations pertaining to nasal bone narrowing procedures and tiplasty?

A:  Rib grafting of the nose is most commonly done for significant dorsal augmentation. Rib grafts offer the most volume to do the procedure and can be done either as an en bloc or a diced technique. There are advantages and disadvantages to either approach. If one can get a nice straight piece of rib cartilage, in which carving and shaping it will not induce warping, then a single en bloc graft method should be done. The problem is that often a good perfectly straight rib graft can be hard to obtain or carving it straight may not make it stay that way. Also, the tunnel or tissue pathway into which the graft is placed must be very tight so the solid one-piece graft does not slip from a straight midline position When the rib graft is not straight and/or there are concerns about midline graft security/fixation, then a diced cartilage approach is the solution. While this takes intraoperative time to do, the risks of graft warping, graft malposition and a crooked nose are virtually eliminated. A diced cartilage approach can also be used when one has multiple small pieces of cartilage, none of which are long and straight enough for a good dorsal augmentation.

The vast majority of diced cartilages grafts in rhinoplasty are placed through an open approach. The cartilage is diced and placed in a fascia or surgical wrap and inserted like a one-piece rib graft. The injectable cartilage approach is only used for very small defects of the nasal dorsum.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana