Reconstructive Rhinoplasty: Restoring a Deformed Nose

Maurice M. Khosh, MD

Article by
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

Reconstructive rhinoplasty refers to restoring the normal shape and function of the nose following damage from: traumatic accident, autoimmune disorder, intra-nasal drug abuse, previous injudicious cosmetic surgery, cancer involvement, or congenital abnormality. Rhinoplasty can restore skin coverage; recreate normal contours, and re-establish nasal airflow.

Rhinoplasty for traumatic nasal deformity:

Traumatic accidents are the commonest cause of nasal deformity. Typically the nasal bones are broken and displaced. Occasionally, the nasal cartilages are disrupted or displaced, and in the worst cases the nasal dorsum is collapsed. Rhinoplasty allows shaving of the displaced bony humps, and re-alignment of the nasal bones after they are cut. When cartilage is disrupted, stitching of the cartilage for re-suspension, or use of cartilage grafts to camouflage depressions allows re-establishment of normal nasal contour. When the dorsum is collapsed, grafts of rib cartilage, ear cartilage, or cranial bone can be used to restore continuity to the dorsum. Although synthetic implants are also available for augmenting the nasal dorsum, cartilage or bone graft from the patient’s own body poses fewer risks of infection or rejection.

Rhinoplasty for collapsed nose due to septum perforation or autoimmune probem:

Autoimmune problems such as Wegener’s Granulomatosis, Sarcoidosis, Churg-Strauss Syndrome, and Relapsing Polychondritis can lead to creation of a hole in the nasal septum, and loss of support in the dorsum leading to a saddle nose deformity. Intra nasal use of drugs such as cocaine, or extreme abuse of nasal decongestant sprays can similarly cause septum perforation and nasal dorsum collapse. Dorsum reconstruction is accomplished through the use of rib cartilage or bone grafts.

Rhinoplasty to correct nasal obstruction following injudicious cosmetic surgery:

Rhinoplasty to restore breathing after injudicious cosmetic surgery Reconstructive rhinoplasty after injudicious cosmetic surgery allows the restoration of normal breathing. When nasal cartilages are over-aggressively trimmed during rhinoplasty, the nose can appear pinched and nasal potency compromised. Patients complain of nasal blockage that is worsened by attempts at deep inspiration. Internal cartilage grafts to support the nasal tip (batton grafts) or widen the middle vault of the nose (spreader grafts) can be quite effective in restoring normal breathing. These grafting techniques will increase the size of the nasal tip and widen the dorsum.

Rhinoplasty for repair of skin cancer defects on the nose:

Rhinoplasty for skin cancer reconstructionExcision of skin cancers from the nose can lead to loss of internal support as well as external skin coverage. Skin cancer excision in the nose is commonly accomplished via the Mohs’ technique. Once the cancer is removed, reconstructive rhinoplasty aims to provide skin coverage utilizing techniques such as skin graft, local skin flaps, or pedicle flaps. If cancer resection leads to loss of tissue in the area of the nasal tip, cartilage grafts are utilized to maintain support and prevent long-term distortion, by the force of scar contracture.

Rhinoplasty for rhinophyma:

Rhinophyma is the late stage manifestation of a skin condition known as Rosacea, where the skin is infected with acne roseacea. The skin in the area of the nasal tip becomes red, thickened, and enlarged as exemplified by W C Fields. Although known acne treatments such as antibiotics and Acutane can halt the progression of this disease, thickening of the skin and obscuring of the nasal tip landmarks can only be remedied by surgical correction. Currently, laser excision of thickened abnormal skin represents the best option in rhinoplasty for Rhinophyma. The CO2 laser and the Erbium YAG laser are the most effective types of laser for this disorder.

Rhinoplasty for cleft lip deformity of the nose:

Cleft lip anomalies and vascular malformations are relatively common causes of congenital nasal deformities. In vascular malformations, the disease process can cause distortions of the skin and underlying structure of the nose. In cleft palate abnormalities, the size, position, and orientation of the nasal tip cartilages may be distorted. Rhinoplasty for reconstruction of vascular malformations can involve laser treatment of the skin and possible surgical excision. When the underlying cartilage structure is disturbed, cartilage grafts and stitching of the native nasal cartilages can help improve nasal appearance. In cleft lip patients, reconstructive rhinoplasty allows re-orientation of the nasal tip cartilages. Additional refinements with cartilage grafts to the tip are also frequently employed.