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Ear Cartilage Graft
Ear cartilage grafting (also known as auricular cartilage grafting) is a traditional workhorse of revision rhinoplasty, especially when grafting is needed in the tip or alae (sides of nostrils). Ear cartilage is obtained from the back of the patient's ear at the same time as the revision. The procedure to harvest ear cartilage typically takes 10-15 minutes and requires placing an incision just over an inch on the back of the ear.
- Ear cartilage grafts are typically available where there may be inadequate donor cartilage in the nose
- Ear cartilage grafts are natural and obtained from the patients own body
- Ear cartilage grafts are soft and pliable and make a good graft for the tip and sides of the nose
- Ear cartilage grafts are much more resistant to infection and absorption than implants or cadaver rib grafts.
- Ear cartilage grafts require placing an incision behind the ear and the ear will be sore for a few weeks
- Ear cartilage grafts are not structurally strong and typically cannot be used to rebuild the entire bridge, lengthen a short nose, and correct severe deviations in cartilage
- Removing ear cartilage may at time create slight deformities of the ear.
Septal cartilage and rib cartilage grafts may be softened during surgery by gently crushing and morselizing the cartilage to create some of the pliability of ear cartilage grafts
After ear cartilage grafting a compression dressing is secured around both surfaces of the ear for 1-2 days. The ear will be sore for a few weeks but the same pain medication used to treat the discomfort after rhinoplasty is typically adequate for the ear. The incision is typically repaired with dissolving sutures and is cared for in the same way as the nose incisions.