Which is Better, Cadaver or Your Own Cartilage for Nasal Repair? Are There Other Options?

My husband had surgery to get a deviated septum corrected and he ended up with a hole in his septum and the tip of his nose collapsed.

Doctor Answers 3

Cartilage options for Rhinoplasty

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Each surgeon has a preference for the type of cartilage that they use in nasal surgery.  The literature supports irradiated rib (cadaver) cartilage as being well tolerated, safe, reliable, less risky because of it does not require a second surgery for harvest of the cartilage that can be associated with a punctured lung or prolonged pain and has a complication rate that is the same as using your own cartilage. Synthetic materials can have fairly high rates of infection, extrusion or exposure.  I prefer irradiated (cadaver) rib cartilage. 


Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon

Cartilage for rhinoplastu

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Dear teresa 1,

  • Ultimately it is up to the surgeon and the patient to decide
  • There are advantages to using cadaver cartilage because there is no extra incision, no risk for an injury to the lung, and in some studies, there is less warping of the cartilage
  • It will also depend on his exam to see how much cartilage he would need and where
  • When you are ready, go to a consultation where he can be examined and all of your questions can be answered.

Best regards,

Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Post Septoplasty perforation

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I prefer to use the patients own cartilage either from the nose or from a donor site behind ear. Some surgeons use the rib as a donor site however my preference is ear or nose cartilage. Best regards, Michael V. Elam, M.D.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 213 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.