Will Rib Removal Change My Physique?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a botched ear surgery and need to come to you for correction for more prominence. I also want to build up my nose for taller nasal bridge. I know it is best to use rib cartilage for surgery rather than a foreign material like Medpor. My concern is that I am a dancer and have to be shirtless a lot for work. I worry the scar needed for rib removal will be big and also will change my physique? Then I read about rib removal for cosmetic surgery purposes. If this is the case maybe it will give me a more defined figure because rib removal gives a more slender slimmer lower waist? Is that correct? Would you be able to use the same scar? I plan to do the surgery separately, first do ear revision and then few months later do nose. Would they use rib from one side for ears and then rib from other side for nose? Or is there not going to be enough rib? Can they use one scar to remove rib and symmetrically remove rib for each side? 

A: Rib removal, whether it is done for otoplasty correction, augmnetative rhinoplasty or for waistline reshaping, will create a scar. It is not a large scar, usually about 4 cms in length, but it is a scar nonetheless. If harvesting just for the nose or ear, it will not change your physique or cause an indented chest area. The amount of rib cartilage length removed is not that long.

Because of the recovery from rib harvest, it is probably best to do the otoplasty revision and rhinoplasty at the same time. While two separate surgeries could be done the amount of rib cartilage needed for the ears is small and does not seem worthy of a separate surgery to do it.

Rib removal can help define the upper waistline by removing the lower free floating ribs but whether that is worth that effort and the two scars to do it must be considered carefully.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana