Alar Batten Graft
What is an alar batten graft?
An alar batten graft is a thin, carefully shaped piece of cartilage or bone which is placed over the nasal sidewall in an area of weakness. It typically bridges the gap between the alar cartilage and the bone of the face. It may be placed into a small pocket as an individual procedure or it can be stitched in place as part of a complete rhinoplasty.
What do alar batten grafts do?
Alar batten grafts are put in place to improve support to a weakened or pinched nasal valve. In this manner, they are usually used to improve breathing and form part of a functional rhinoplasty.
Whilst so improving support the alar batten grafts can improve the appearance of a nose which may be quite pinched at the tip.
What are batten grafts made of?
Typically batten grafts are made of cartilage from the nasal septum, ear or rib. The nasal septum is usually the first choice but ear cartilage is also excellent. Occasionally a small straight piece of very thin nasal bone can be used and can work very well.
What part of the ear does the cartilage come from?
When surgeons are taking a graft from your ear they take it from two sections. They more often than not take from the lower larger section of your ear and then if additional cartilage is needed they may take a graft from the upper smaller section. This process is called a conchal cartilage ear graft. Below is a diagram that shows these two sections the graft can be taken from. The ear will maintain it’s shape and usually the site from which the cartilage was taken looks almost unchanged afterwards.
How are alar batten grafts inserted?
Alar batten grafts can be inserted through a small pocket made inside the nose as part of a closed approach rhinoplasty. Then can also be placed directly as part of an open approach rhinoplasty. Both methods are equally effective as long as the graft is carefully placed in the correct position and does not move.
Once they are inserted can you see alar batten grafts?
In some patients there is a cosmetic benefit in filling in a very depressed area in the lateral nasal sidewall. In this situation we want the graft to made a visible change. In other patients who are having the grafts for functional (breathing) purposes the grafts can initially be seen as a fullness under the skin. Patients with thicker skin will camouflage this better than patients with thinner skin. With time the grafts become less noticeable.