How Will Aging Be Affected by Ear Cartilage Being Harvested for Rhinoplasty?

I recently had quite a bit of ear cartilage harvested to redefine my nasal tip. Although my ear looks the same, I can't help but reach behind my ears to feel the asymmetry and lack of cartilage on my left. How important is ear cartilage in the structure of our ear, and will I face problems as I age? The PS harvested from both the top and bottom inner conch and left the center.

Doctor Answers 6

Aging and Conchal Bowl Ear Harvest

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A standard approach to harvesting ear cartilage is through a retroauricular incision to remove a portion of the conchal bowl.  With age, there should be little to no change in the appearance of the ear.  Most added length of the ear is a result of earlobe length, particularly in women who wear earrings.  There are several studies which have both found and refuted changes in the cartilage of the ear as the culprit for additional length as we age, so there is still a slight chance of a subtle asymmetry with age.

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 181 reviews

Aging of ear after cartilage harvest

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Harvesting ear cartilage is a common technique used in revision rhinoplasty and does not have any consequences with aging effects.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Aging and Ear Cartilage used for Nasal Grafting

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In most instances aging will not effect the quality of the ear cartilage used for nasal grafts.

However, if sometimes with aging the ear cartilage can become more brittle and may or may not be suitable for nasal grafting.

Additionally, If you have sustained an injury to your ear, then the ear cartilage may become scarred and even deformed.  These changes in the ear cartilage may preclude their used for nasal grafts.

Fredrick A. Valauri, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Problems After Cartilage Harvested from Ears?

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I do not think that you have much to worry about  in regards to changes of the ear  that will occur with aging. Generally speaking, the amount of ear cartilage harvested will not affect the cartilaginous framework of the ear significantly.

I hope this helps.

Ear Cartilage Harvest and Retention of Ear Shape

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Your loss of ear cartilage from the concha will not affect in any way the shape of your ears as you age. The cartilage that is harvested comes from the concave portion of the ear which is not necessary for structural support. Only the convex or prominent portions of the ear are needed to keep good ear shape.

How Will Aging Be Affected by Ear Cartilage Being Harvested for Rhinoplasty?

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Ear cartilage grafts rarely change the shape of the ear. Within 3-6 months after harvesting the ear cartilage your ear should look and feel very much like it did before surgery. As long as your surgeon does not remove any cartilage from the anti-helical fold or ear canal you should not have any long term problems with your ear. I hope this is reassuring.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

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.