Why Would my Doctor Use a Spreader Graft?

My doctor never told me he was going to use a spreader graft in my bridge. I didn't even know what the things were until I came out of surgery unhappy with my appearance and did some research, at first I thought it was an implant. On my preop report it states that I had no breathing issues, which I did not. I thought spreader grafts were used as a last resort for someone who has severe breathing issues or a very scooped out bridge?

Doctor Answers 8

Spreader grafts in rhinoplasty

When they were intially described in 1984, it was to prevent middle vault collapse (a collapse in the middle third of your nose in the shape of an inverted-V).  Since then, though, their use has expanded to include about 7-8 indications, not all of which are functional (for breathing).  Did you have a dorsal hump reduction?  If so, then it's likely he put them in to avoid middle vault collapse and maintain a nice dorsal aesthetic line (straight bridge).   

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Reasons for using spreader grafts in rhinoplasty

There are many reasons for using spreader grafts in rhinoplasty:

  1. If a large hump/bump is removed from the bridge of the nose, even if the nose is straight, spreader grafts are used to prevent pinching in of the bridge or what we call "inverted v-deformity".  So it is for prevention in your case.
  2. For a crooked nose: acts as a buttress to try to straighten the nose.
  3. Airway obstruction
  4. Esthetic reasons if the nose looks pinched or too short.

Don't judge the results at this point in time as it takes a full year for healing.

Ran Y. Rubinstein, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 153 reviews

Spreader graft used in rhinoplasty

Spreader grafts are usually used to improve airflow after reshaping of the nose “hump” area. They can also be used to bolster the dorsum to reduce the chance of collapse later. Your surgeon may have deemed it necessary to use it for this reason. Discuss this with him or her. If the spreader graft is too big it could possibly lead to a dorsum appearing too wide or high. This can be addressed later but you must wait at least a year to let tissues “normalize” before determining if you need a revision.


Good luck!

Dr. A

Ahmed Abdullah, MD, FACS
Fargo Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Rhinoplasty- Spreader grafts

The use of spreader grafts is somewhat controversial.  They are sometimes used to attempt to improve nasal airflow.  Often times, they are placed after the nasal bones have been re-positioned in order to avoid overly-narrowing the nose. In the big picture, the grafts are usually very small and may play a minor role in aesthetic appearance. As always, it is important to discuss your concerns with your Plastic Surgeon.  Be patient, you will likely find that the appearance of your nose will continue to change for 9-12 months after surgery.

Jarrod Little, MD
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Spreader graft and rhinoplasty

Dear caught in the rain,

  • He probably placed them to avoid collapse of the nose and breathing issues after surgery
  • It could also be done to make the nose look better and in balance
  • They do not widen the nose that much (2-3mm) and we frequently use them
  • If it has not been longer than 6 months, I would wait for the swelling to go down completely before doing anything rash

Best regards,

Nima Shemirai

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

In Rhinoplasty Surgery, cartilage spreader grafts may be used for functional and cosmetic improvement.

A cartilage spreader graft is typically harvested from your nasal septum during Rhinoplasty Surgery. These grafts may range in length and width, but may be around 1-2 cm long, and 2-4 mm wide. They are typically sutured to your upper septum that forms part of the bridge of your nose and are used to widen the middle third of your nose. This may result in improved breathing or a more symmetrical appearance, or prevention of collapse of your upper lateral cartilages.

Feel free to re ask your query with photos.

Hope this helps.

Dr. Joseph


Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 421 reviews

Spreader grafts

I use spreader grafts quite frequently, regardless of whether there is breathing obstruction.  When a hump is taken down, the cartilage that is left tends to collapse inward, causing too much narrowing of the middle 1/3 of the nose.  Spreader grafts help to "spread" the bridge apart and maintain the width. 

Matthew Bridges, MD
Richmond Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Why use a spreader graft?

Spreader grafts can be used to help people with functional nasal blockage or very scooped out bridges. They are also commonly used to correct more subtle narrowing or collapse of the middle third of the nose.

You can check out my blog post below to learn more about spreader grafts.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 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.