What's the best material for tip grafting? Ear cartilage or rib cartilage?

What are the pro's and con's for each material? It seems like every doctor have their own preference?

Doctor Answers 4

Ear Cartilage or Rib Cartilage for Nasal Tip Grafting

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This is the easiest question I've answered all day. Rib cartilage is not necessary; harvesting this is more difficult for both the patient and surgeon. If you care, it is a lot less expensive to use ear cartilage.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Ear or rib cartilage for tip graft?

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it's quite easy. Rib=lot of Cartlage and lot of cost and pain. Ear=smaller amount of cartilage and minimal pain and cost. For a tip graft have ear cartilage done by a very experienced rhinoplasty surgeon. 

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews


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Thank you for your question. The answer is both surgeon- and patient-specific. I suggest that you ask this question during your consultation with your board certified facial plastic surgeon. Your surgeon will review the pros and cons of each and their specific application to you and your surgery. It is always helpful to write down all of your questions for the consultation.

Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews


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The short answer is that both have their advantages and one is not necessarily the best. It depends on the patient, their anatomy and goals and the surgeon's  preference.

Ear cartilage has the advantage of being fairly easy to harvest with minimal risks and provides excellent  soft cartilage. The downside is that it is limited in supply and sometimes does not provide the support required. 

Harvesting rib cartilage provides an abundant amount of material for grafting. In addition, the cartilage can typically provide better support and structure than ear cartilage. The downside is that it may have a greater tendency to change or warp over time and harvesting it presents some real risks as well as discomfort. That said, some surgeons recommend irradiated donor rib, which precludes the need for surgical harvesting-this is a fairly controversial topic among rhinoplasty surgeons.

Hope that helps-this is an excellent question to ask your rhinoplasty surgeon as you are exploring your options.

Mark Hamilton, MD
Indianapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 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.