Advantages of Ear Cartilage for Asian Bridge Job?

What are the advantages of using ear cartilage to build a bridge during an Asian rhinoplasty procedure?

Doctor Answers 8

Advantages of Ear Cartilage for Asian Bridge Job?

  I have performed Rhinoplasty, including Asian Rhinoplasty, for well over 20 years and IMHO...there are no advantages, only disadvantages in using ear cartilage to build up the nasal bridge.  Ear cartilage is curved and as such must be folded to create a straighter graft shape for placement on the nasl bridge.  This is never, IMO, as straight as a straight silastic dorsal graft which is what I prefer for building up the nasal bridge.  Ear cartilage, IMHO, dissolves unevenly over years making it a undesirable dorsal grafting material.  

 IMO rib cartilage and bone is also susceptible to dissolving unevenly over years and I do not use this material for building up nasal bridges for this reason.  Be sure that your Rhinoplasty Surgeon understands and follows the proper aesthetics of facial (and nasal) beauty for the creation of a naturally, more attractive nose.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Ear cartilage for Asian rhinoplasty dorsal augmentation

Ear cartilage is soft, pliable and easily harvested through an incision that is well-hidden in the crease behind your ear.  It will not change the shape or size of your ear.  Using your own cartilage is much safer than using a synthetic implant, and will give you a much longer-lasting result.  

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Advantages of ear cartilage for augmenting the nose bridge.

Ear cartilage has a low donor site related problems, low infection and resorption rates, and easily carved. However, there is often an insufficient amount of ear cartilage when you need to significantly augment the nose bridge.

Eric In Choe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Advantages/Disadvantages of Ear Cartilage for Rhinoplasty


From my perspective ear cartilage is contra-indicated in bridge work either with Asians or any other ethnic group. Ear cartilage in the bridge area either shrinks and becomes unsightly or dissappears altogether. You need a homograft of either skull bone or rib bone. 


Richard Galitz, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Using rib cartilage to build the bridge with Asian rhinoplasty

Ear cartilage has a few benefits compared with other sources of material. Compared with silicone implants your own cartilage, in general, has a better safety and longevity profile. Compared with rib cartilage, the incision for ear cartilage is easily hidden behind the ear.

One downside with using ear versus rib cartilage is that in some patients there isn't enough ear cartilage available for fully augmenting the bridge. Ear cartilage is also softer than septal or rib cartilage so may not prove as helpful in improving tip definition. With my current carving and graft placement technique I have not found cartilage warping to be an issue in my practice.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Nasal dorsum graft

I prefer to use rib cartilage for dorsal augmentation.  Ear cartilage is not sufficient for most cases and it is a softer cartilage.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Different ways of using your own cartilage for making a nasal bridge

Silicone nasal implants for the nasal bridge have been used extensively particularly in Asia.  I've used them for many years and they usually work very well. Only rarely do they get infected as long as they're not used to augment the tip as well.  They are often a bit mobile; can be asymmetric; and sometimes the edges can be felt.  Cartilage from the ear is a good alternative. If I use ear cartilage I prefer to dice it (cut it into very small pieces that I then inject into a carefully prepared tunnel using a syringe).  My patients and I have been happy with this method. The advantage of using your own cartilage is that compared to silicone, late infection and loss of the graft is very unlikely. With the diced cartilage method, unlike traditional methods, warping and asymmetry of the graft is not a concern. 

Nicholas Carr, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Cartilage vs silicone implant

Augmentation of the radix (the bridge of the nose) can be performed safely with cartilage or a silicone implant.

The advantage of using cartilage is that it is your own tissue, and therefore less likely to become infected, or extrude (erode through the skin or into the nose).  The disadvantages of using cartilage are that it can warp or resorb.

When using cartilage your surgeon can increase the chances for success by use of a symmetric design and letting the cartilage set for a period of time after the harvest.   

I recommend finding a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who performs rhinoplasty regularly to discuss this further.


Jeremiah Redstone, MD

Jeremiah Redstone, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 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.