Diced septal or rib cartilage for minimal dorsal augmentation?

How reliable is this? When a doctor says the results are "long-term" just how long is that? Would I need another procedure in the future? Is it worth it? Do you think ever in the near future that rhinoplasty surgeons will utilize stem cell technology to grow (mold-able?) nose bone and implant it in the patient? How much does it generally cost to do a minimal dorsal augmentation?

Doctor Answers 9

Dorsal Augmentation

Cartilage grafting to the nose is a very reliable technique in terms of volume retention. Its issues are in the shape obtained and any changes long-term. (e.g., warping) In a 'minimal' dorsal augmentation dicing the cartilage is not usually needed. This cartilage grafting technique is most appropriate for much larger dorsal augmentation.

Dorsal Onlay Grafting

Cartilage from the septum or rib is often used for grafting to the nose - either trimmed and beveled or diced - to provide varying amounts of dorsal augmentation. After implantation, over the course of 4-6 weeks, the grafts gradually scar into place - forming a more permanent attachment to the surrounding cartilage and bone. 

Most of the cartilage survives, but some of it dies off or is replaced by scar tissue. Depending on how the grafts age with your nose, you may need a touch up with future surgery or fillers to maintain the result.

At this point, stem cell therapies are in their relative infancy. Currently, stem cell tissues are difficult to grow and are expensive to produce in large 3-D constructs. In comparison, septal cartilage is in copious supply and free. I would not, therefore, expect stem cells to supplant the use of septal cartilage for grafting in those patents where septal cartilage is available.

An alternative for you may be to use facial fillers (such as Juvederm) to provide dorsal augmentation without the need for surgery - especially if the augmentation is minimal. Fillers last a variable amount of time, however, a year is average.

Many of our patients travel from around NYC to the Albany / Saratoga Springs area to avoid the high costs of surgery in the city. An isolated dorsal onlay graft may cost $5500 including surgeon fee, anesthesia, and facility fee.  Fillers would cost about $650. 

See the link below for more info on the surgery, fillers, and pricing. 

Dorsal augmentation

If there is adequate septal cartilage, and the defect is deep,  more than one layer can be put together for a graft. The best piece is the top piece, with the edges beveled. They also can be lightly crushed to soften them, especially if the skin is thin.

If only non-septal cartilage is available, then the diced method will do.

These grafts are permanent or almost so.

Plastic surgery is not an exact science.

Dennis Barek, MD
Great Neck Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Dorsal augmentation

Dorsal augmentation with your own cartilage is considered permanent but the nose continues to age and change and the shape of the cartilage implanted and the soft tissues will change over time. Stem cell technology will eventually allow us to create cartilage to use but will still need surgery to implant it in the proper place. 


Dr. J

Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Cartilage grafts

Cartilage grafts whether diced or not is often the best way to go for onlay grafts for the nose.  Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Dorsal augmentation

Hello and thank you for your question. Diced cartilage is the gold standard for dorsal augmentation.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and not just a computer animation system. The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Nonsurgical rhinoplasty treatments may be considered for permanent dorsal nasal augmentation.

We do not have experience with diced cartilage for dorsal augmentation. Augmentation with rib cartilage is not an exact science and may lead to irregularities in some.

Depending on your examination, microdroplet Silikon-1000 may be considered for permanent dorsal augmentation. 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 386 reviews

Rhinoplasty - Diced Cartilage?

Tissue from your own body (autologous grafts) will give you a safer, more permanent result than synthetic implants. While en bloc cartilage grafts, especially from the rib, can warp over time, there are ways to eliminate this problem.  Especially for dorsal augmentation (building up the bridge) using cartilage that is finely diced and wrapped in fascia taken from your scalp can be made into a custom size and shape for your particular nose (DCF). By dicing the cartilage the problem of warping is eliminated, and since it is tissue from your own body, it quickly becomes incorporated into your nose within 2-3 weeks. Results are certainly surgeon dependent, so it's important to do your research in finding a rhinoplasty specialist. 

Donald B. Yoo, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Diced cartilage

Diced cartilage can be used successfully for a permanent result that does not need any further procedures. I do think that there will be the possibility in the future to use the technology you described. The cost of the procedure depends on your geographic area and the factors that might make your rhinoplasty more or less complicated.

P. Daniel Ward, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 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.