How often is Ear Cartilage used Smooth out a broken nose?

What is the success rate for using ear cartilage versus other materials?

Doctor Answers (9)

Ear cartilage is great for camouflage purposes

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For relatively minor imperfections of the nose either after an accident or during/after a rhinoplasty procedure ear cartilage is a great method to camouflage small irregularities. The patient's own tissue is always preferable and septal cartilage is a great option as well.  This material, however, almost always has to be crushed as it is a histologically different type of cartilage from the softer and more pliable ear cartilage. If you have had nasal surgery before and there is a paucity of septal cartilage, then ear cartilage is my preferred donor site for tip grafts and camouflage grafts. I also like to use either temporalis fascia or mastoid fascia for these cases as the material is quick to harvest and very easy to use. Fillers and other implants like goretex and alloderm are also used but I would not recommend using foreign material in a revision case as it has a higher tendency to get infected and extrude. 


Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Broken nose

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I believe that autogenous material is best for grafts/ However septal cartilage is the first choice and ear second. Ear cartilage requires a harvesting procedure and does not have the overall integrity that septal cartilage has

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Cartilage grafting in rhinoplasty

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Ear cartilage is a great choice for enhancing the convex contour portions of the nose for functional and aesthetic rhinoplasty. It is more commonly used for revision cases. It has a low rate of infection and resorbtion, making it superior to other materials except for septal cartilage, which is usually stronger. Every case is different and there may be more than one good way to address the same broken nose.

Edmund Fisher, MD
Bakersfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

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Cartilage Onlay Grafting For Nasal Dorsal Irregularities

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When it comes to the need for grafting in rhinoplasty, cartilage is the superior choice. Depending on what the amount and shape of the cartilage that is needed, the donor choices are septum, ear and rib. For a broken nose, you likely are referring to irregularities of asymmetries of the nasal dorsum where the nasal bones reside. Crushed ear cartilage can be used to camouflage these dorsal irregularities and would be a reasonable option for some patient's nose deformities that have resulted from prior trauma and fractures. 

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
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Cartilage for nose surgery

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there are many choices for implant material in nasal sugery.  the best choice is no implant..  your own body parts,  rib  , cartilage are great options for the right problem..  injectable solutions are also becoming more common

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
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Ear cartilage for broken nose deformity

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It's used all the time (my preferred material) and it works very well.  I'm assuming your fracture is a older?  At least over a few months?  In an acute setting (less than 2 weeks or so) it's not often used.  In any case, here's the scoop on nasal implant/graft material for some bony nasal deformities.

1.  Ear cartilage:  works very well, it's reliable, there's essentially no donor site morbitiy as long as the donor site (ear) is cared for, and little to no infection risk.  It's good for mild to moderate deformities and irregularities that show a the surface of the skin.   Ear looks the same pre and post up before and after cartilage is taken as a graft. 

2.  Temporalis Fascia:  This is good for fine to mild irregularities on the nose, especially along the bridge, and especially in a thin skinned patient.  The graft comes from behind or above your ear inside the hairline so there's no scar.  There's really no risks or problems at the donor site to speak of.

3.  Gortex or Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE):  This is a synthetic sheet that can be used in the same way as the fascia.  You place it under the skin and it will smooth the irregularitie that show at the skin surface.  I use this in Asian patients, Black patients, or any patient who has skin thick enough to make it practical.  Only down side is that if it's not placed just right or it gets infected it has to be removed.

I think ear cartilage is great as a grafting material.  

Best of luck

Dr. Chase Lay

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Ear cartilage for a broken nose

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In all the nasal fractures I have treated over 25 years I have never used ear cartilage to treat a broken nose. If this is an acute fracture, within the last week, I would make sure the fractures are reduced and then treat if needed. I reserve ear cartilage for reconstructive rhinoplasty and treating deformities from previous surgeries. So it depends on what you are treating, but I do use ear cartilage when needed.

Steven Schuster, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Ear Cartilage

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While it depends what needs to be done to your nose, cartilage or tissue from within your own body is my first choice when needed for a rhinoplasty. 

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Ear Cartilage in Treatment of a Broken Nose

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Ear cartilage is an excellent, reliable source of material for rhinoplasty surgery, including the treatment of a broken nose. The patient's own tissue is always my first choice to augment or stabilize the nose.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.