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Rib Grafts for Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is a complex procedure whether it is performed for the first time or as a revision procedure. In many cases a graft is used to create stability and balance in the new nose shape. Using the patient’s own cartilage, either from the nose itself or a donor site, tends to provide the most natural, long-lasting results. One of the donor sites that is frequently considered and used by Dr Roth is a rib graft.

Reasons for a Rib Graft

The first choice in cartilage grafts for a rhinoplasty procedure is usually the septum. The septum is the straight cartilage inside the nose that separates the two nasal passages. This cartilage tends to provide the best rhinoplasty results because of its strength and size. However, septal cartilage may not be available for grafting, often due to previous nose surgery. In that case, Dr Roth will look at harvesting cartilage from the ear or rib for the procedure.

Choosing a Rib Graft

Rib cartilage is often preferable over ear cartilage because it tends to be stronger and more plentiful. Dr Roth commonly removes the cartilage from the fifth or sixth rib, since this area makes it easy to hide the small incision inside the crease of the breast or chest muscle. The fifth rib is usually straighter but smaller, while the sixth rib offers more cartilage but with additional curvature. Dr Roth will choose the donor rib based on the amount of cartilage he needs and how he will use it in your rhinoplasty procedure.

The Rib Graft Procedure

The removal of the rib graft may be performed on an outpatient basis, but many patients will spend the night in a hospital or surgical centre after the procedure to allow the healing process to begin. General anaesthesia is always used for this surgery. Rhinoplasty is usually performed at the same time as the rib graft, and the entire procedure may take up to four hours to complete.

After the procedure, patients will need time to recover from both the rhinoplasty and the rib graft. Most are able to get back to light activities within two weeks and a full schedule within 4-6 weeks. It will take time to see the full results of the rhinoplasty, as bruising and swelling will need time to subside before you will start to see how your new nose will look.

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