What happens to unused rib after rib harvesting for rhinoplasty?

Is it stored in the body or thrown away?

Doctor Answers 5

Rib in Rhinoplasty

Any unused rib cartilage can be banked into the patient of they so desire. It can be placed either behind the ear or any other subcutaneous site for later use if needed.

Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Rhinoplasty and banking the rib cartilage

Rhinoplasty is a surgery to change the shape of the nose for breathing or appearance.

For patients who lack cartilage in their septum or those who require significant augmentation, rib cartilage can be a wonderful source of natural material for grafts. The harvested rib cartilage is so abundant that there is often unused pieces at the end of the surgery. That fantastic grafting material is often discarded. If a surgery requiring cartilage is performed in the future, another rib harvest may be necessary. 

Another option is to bank the valuable cartilage in a pocket behind the ear. It's sore for a few days, but then it is quickly forgotten by the patient. It's easy to access for future surgeries. If there is no further need for the cartilage, it can be safely removed in the office. 

Victor Chung, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Rhinoplasty candidate

Rib cartilage is only used after there  has been cartilage depleted from the nose and both ears. Excess rib cartilage can either be discarded or banked for future needs.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Rib cartilage

The rib cartilage that goes unused during revision rhinoplasty is typically discarded, unless there is a high level of concern that there will need to be another stage of surgery. In that latter case, the cartilage is typically "banked" back in the body. The area behind the ear is probably the most frequently used area.

P. Daniel Ward, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Rib cartilage

The answer depends on how much rib remains unused, how likely the patient's nose will require a future revision (and rib graft use), and your surgeon's preference.  Some discard remnants, while others may bank unused cartilage, typically implanting it underneath the soft tissue behind the ear.  

Inessa Fishman, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 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.