Rhinoplasty grafts are cartilage, bone, or tissue, that is taken from another part of the nose or another location in the body, then placed in the nose for the sake of appearance or function. Most of the time we’ll take cartilage from the septum, which is the divider between the two sides inside the nose. There are times when we take cartilage from the ear or the rib, and we’ve even used donated rib cartilage. All of these can be used to create grafts to change the inside of your nose for better function or a better appearance.
What is a composite graft?
In rhinoplasty, a composite graft is a graft that has more than one component, meaning it’s some combination of cartilage and skin or some other combination. We typically harvest from different parts of the ear because it doesn’t change the function of the ear or how it looks. I like to use the bottom of the concha bowl or the big part on the inside near the ear canal, where you can take the curved cartilage plus skin to place inside the nose.
With a composite graph, we can either push the Ayla, the rim of the nostril, down or recreate some of the natural anatomies that existed there. Other surgeons take composite grafts from different places in the body, mostly from places where it’s not physically noticeable and where it doesn’t affect function at all. The composite graft is most often used in revision rhinoplasty to reconstruct parts of the nose that may have been changed from a first rhinoplasty.
What is a rim graft?
A rim graft is a very small piece of cartilage that we place along the rim of the nostril which is the Ayla. This helps reinforce the rim so that when you inhale really hard, the nostrils don’t collapse. It gives it more structure so you can breathe better. We can use a rim graft to push the nostril down a few millimeters if the natural rim is pulled up a little bit or we can use it to improve the appearance of the nostril if it’s naturally a little irregular or weaker in certain areas. You shouldn’t be able to see or feel this graft. It just helps improve the appearance and function of the actual rim of the nostril.
Do spreader grafts make the nose wider?
Spreader grafts do not make the nose wider when the correct size and placement are used. We use them to widen a very specific area of the nose, usually, the middle third where a lot of people have a wider bridge at the top, then narrowing in the middle, and then a wider tip. The spreader grafts widen that middle area so it matches the top and bottom parts of the bridge, creating a straighter, smoother bridge.
Spreader grafts also widen the airway on the inside of the nose to help you breathe better. The only way spreader grafts would make the nose look wider is if the grafts are too big, but an experienced surgeon will know exactly what size to use.
Does ear cartilage grow back after rhinoplasty?
Ear cartilage does not grow back after rhinoplasty. We take it from an area where the cartilage won’t affect ear function and won’t change the way that your ear looks, the way it projects, or the way it feels. I take my ear cartilage from the flat part on the inside of the ear called the concha bowl, so you don’t even notice it, and the incisions are well hidden.
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About Dr. Angela Sturm
Dr. Angela Sturm is a double-board certified facial plastic surgeon with certifications with the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery. Dr. Sturm’s meticulous nature makes for exceptional results and satisfied patients. Dr. Sturm was named Texas Monthly’s Super Doctors Rising Star in 2016-2017, Texas Monthly’s Super Doctor in 2018-2019, H Texas Magazine’s Top Doc in 2013-2018, Top Doc by Houstonia magazine in 2016-2018, Houston Business Journal’s People on the Move and 40 under 40, Blazing Star Award by Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Top Women in Business, one of the Top 30 Influential Women of Houston, Best Female Cosmetic Surgeon in Out Smart, and given the Patients’ Choice Award, On Time Doctor Award and Compassionate Doctor Award by Vitals.com.