Ear Cartilage Graft for Rhinoplasty

What part of the ear is the graft generally taken from for rhinoplasty? What's to be expected with this type of surgery?

Doctor Answers 8

Ear Cartilage Graft for Rhinoplasty

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My first choice of ear cartilage graft is taken from the cymba, a part of the ear above the main bowl located between two prominent ridges. If there is need for additional grafting material, the cavum cartilage can be taken. This is the bowl which opens into the ear canal. Usually, the ears do not change significantly. Sometimes, the ear moves a touch closer to the head.

Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Ear cartilage grafts are used only if nasoseptal cartilage has been depleted

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Ear cartilage grafts are only used if the nasoseptal cartilage has been depleted. The conchal bowl is the area that is harvested through a postauricular incision behind the ear to take out a small piece of cartilage.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Ear cartilage for Rhinoplasty is most often used to refine and support nose tip

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Ear cartilage is ususally harvested from the conchal "bowl' the central depressed part of the ear. Scarring is usually well concealed but you will feel and see a depression in the area from which the cartilage is taken.

Most commonly the cartilage is used to shape a refined nasal tip and to support and elevate the naslal tip.

Results are usually excellent. In fact cartliage grafting through an open rhinoplasty technique has dramatically improved our abilty to achieve a refined nasal tip and avoid dropping or downward rotation of the tip foillowing rhinoplasty.

Ear Cartilage for Rhinoplasty

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It is usually taken from the central depression in the ear called the concha. However, it can be taken from any place except the borders (helix). This maintains the shape of the ear.

Typically after the cartilage removal you have a pressure type dressing in the ear concha which is removed in about 5 days. The pain is mild to moderate but never severe. If it is severe, you could be developing a hematoma (collection of blood) and should call your surgeon or go to the ER.

After the dressing is removed you might have some bruising in the ear but the incisions are well hidden and heal easily.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Ear cartilage graft

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Ear cartilage is just one choice of cartilage graft for rhinoplasty.  It is usually taken from the concha or conchal bowl.  It is usually  used as an onlay or a tip graft.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Ear Cartilage Grafts For Rhinoplasty

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Long-term results of rhinoplasty require that the nose be structurally supported with cartilage grafts. Usually the ideal type of cartilage for grafting is from the septum. When the septum has been removed during a previous surgery or if their is not sufficient amounts of septal cartilage, rhinoplasty surgeons must obtain the cartilage for grafts from an alternative source -- either the ear or rib.

Ear cartilage is suitable for many applications in rhinoplasty. It is obtained by the surgeon making a incision on the back side of the ear. The central portion of the ear cartilage is removed from beneath the skin. If performed correctly, there usually is no change in the shape or function of the ear. After healing is complete, the patients usually do not even notice that it is missing.

Ear cartilage harvest can add 30 min to one hour of operative time. Usually a pressure bandage is sewn in place on the ear to help prevent a hematoma (blood pocket) from forming under the skin.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Conchal bowl

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Cartilage is taken from the part of the ear known as the conchal bowl (the concha cavum and concha cymba). The conchal bowl is basically where a hearing aid or ear buds from an MP3 player sit. By using cartilage from this area, there is usually no appreciable change to the overall shape or support of the ear: i.e., it looks the same afterward.

Incisions for this can be made either at the front or the back surface of the ear. The ear is typically pretty tender after this procedure for a week or more, but is well controlled with post-op pain medications.

Hope this helps,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

Cartilage graft for rhinoplasty

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Often the cartilage from your septum (in your nose) can be used for grafts during rhinoplasty. Occasionally, more cartilage is necessary (especially during secondary rhinoplasty). In this case a small incision (2 cm) is make in the crease behind your ear. A strip of cartilage is harvested and the incision closed. There is no functional or cosmetic change to the ear. Good luck with your surgery.

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.