How Long After Your Primary Rhinoplasty Will Cartilage Reabsorb?

For my primary rhinoplasty, my PS made an incision in my hair and took cartilage from the layer underneath my hair and he also used ear cartilage. How long will it be until the cartilage reabsorbs? (if it will happen)

Doctor Answers 9

Cartilage resorption after rhinoplasty.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Cartilage resorption after rhinoplasty is  complete by 1 year. It depends on how the cartilage was done as to how much remains at 1 year.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Cartilage Graft Resorption in Rhinoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi Pup,

The graft taken from under your hairline is most likely a temporalis fascia graft which may be used to cover other cartilage grafts or wrap diced cartilage grafts.  In the ideal situation, the grafts are permanent and do not reabsorb.  There is not an expected time for graft resorption, though it may occur.  Hope that you enjoy your new nose and that your grafts last your lifetime.  Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Cartilage is ideal for rhinoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The nice thing about cartilage for nasal shaping is that it does not reabsorb or change shape. It is very stable and can be very natural if used in the proper way. Your ear cartilage should be OK. By the way, there is no cartilage beneath your hair.

Best of luck,


You might also like...

Cartilage resorption following Rhinoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Cartilage resorption with cartilage grafts is not a desirable or expected outcome.  The cartilage was placed there to provide nasal support and presumably to shape the nasal tip.    Some cartilage resorption may happen over a year but it is usually a small amount and not enough to be clinically significant i.e. to affect the nasal appearance or structure.   In this way, cartilage grafting is a pretty reliable way of influencing the structure, appearance and function of the nose. 

James C. Marotta, MD
Long Island Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

How long for cartilage grafts to absorb after Rhinoplasty?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From what you're describing the grfat taken from beneath your scalp was not cartiage but fascia or the thick muscle covering that IMHO will certainly absorb most likely within a few years after your Rhinoplasty.  The era graft if used in the nasal tip is stable however, if used on the nasal bridge it also has a tendency to absorb unevenly over years.

Cartilage Absorption after Rhinoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From what you describe, temporal fascia (soft tissue that overlies the temporal muscles) was harvested and wrapped around the ear cartilage in the hope of smoothing out the cartilage and perhaps help it to last longer.  I am not a huge fan of ear cartilage, as it can resorb, usually quicker than with septal cartilage, but sometimes it can be permanent.  I usually prefer to use Gore-tex, a great implant that works great and prefer it to cartilage in most cases.

Cartilage Grafts: do they resorb or change shape?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
  • The graft I commonly use that requires an incision in the scalp is something called "temporalis fascia"-- a soft, thin tissue that can be used alone or with cartilage grafts to help fill in areas of the nose.  It is a great technique when used right.  The material is your own and very safe and lasts forever. 
  • This does not mean that there will not be shape changes over time.  As the skin and muscle layer over the grafts heals and contracts, the grafts can appear smaller or to have less volume.  That is why its good to keep up with your surgeon over time. 

Cartilage Reabsorption is Rare

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The tissue taken from under your scalp was probably fascia, however, the tissue taken from your ear is indeed cartilage.  If your concern is about the size of your nose and swelling, then you have to allow upwards of a year for all swelling to resolve.  This is a gradual process so the more time goes by, the less swelling you will have.  Some fluctuations in swelling may occur based on your sodium intake, sun exposure and other factors.

If your question is truly about cartilage reabsorption, this is the phenomenon of cartilage "dissolving" or thinning after it has been grafted.  This is exceptionally rare except in cases of infection.  When grafted material gets infected, it is far more likely to resorb or may even have to be removed.  In the absence of infection, most cartilage grafts do not resorb to any significant degree and will last the lifetime of the patient.

Nasal Grafts used in rhinoplasty.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
From the description that you have provided. it sounds like your surgeon performed a rhinoplasty with nasal bridge augmentation with the use of auricular cartilage and temporalis fascia.  The auricular cartilage from your ear was used to provide bulk and structure to the bridge of your nose, and the temporalis fascia (the piece of tissue taken from beneath your hair) is used to provide some fullness but mostly used to camouflage the cartilage grafts that are placed.  The good news is that your surgeon used an excellent combination of material for this particular purpose, although I prefer to use septal cartilage for all grafts in primary rhinoplasty as it is readily available and does not require a separate surgical site.  You may still have a bit of swelling where the grafts were placed, but, I would not expect significant resorption of either of these tissues over time.

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.