Can Existing Septal Cartilage Grafts Be Reused in Revision Rhinoplasty?

Primary closed rhino done in 2002 for deviated nose. Doc used only septal cartilage for spreader grafts and tip work. I asked a couple of revision surgeons whether the existing grafts can be reused in the revision procedure so as to avoid harvesting cartilage from elsewhere. One said "No, it doesn't work that way" and the other surgeon said that he would just try to reuse the existing septal grafts. I'm confused as to whether this is indeed possible, and if so, to what extent they are reusable.

Doctor Answers 14

Using all available cartilage

Part of the art of rhinoplasty is the ability of the surgeon to think on his/her feet.  Faced with a shortage of cartilage, the surgeon will use whatever is available.  It is not unusual to move cartilage grafts in a previously operated nose to another part of the nose, in addition to using ear or rib cartilage.

Boston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Recycling Septal Cartilage Grafts in Revision Rhinoplasty

The answer is - yes, you can certainly recycle septal cartilage grafts used in a prior rhinoplasty procedure. But this assumes that you are taking out the previously placed grafts because they are not needed or wanted in their current position. 

John M. Hilinski, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Can existing septal cartilage graft be reused in revision rhinoplasty

May be, sometime are a little weak, and it is necessary to use fresh one from the ear. 

Maria Cristina Picon, MD
Argentina Plastic Surgeon

Cartilage grafts reusable?

Sometimes a cartilage graft may be used for other purposes, but many times the graft material becomes weak and disfigured.  Other fresh grafts may be required.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Availability of cartilage for grafting material in revision rhinoplasty

Depending on what needs to be done to your nose, the cartilage grafts that are needed will vary.  It's unlikely that the existing graft will be sufficient, but then if your revision entails only minor changes perhaps they will be.

Donald B. Yoo, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Reusing septal cartilage grafts

Existing septal cartilage grafts, placed 10 years ago, are difficult to remove and replace, due to the integration of those grafts into scar tissue and the natural tissues.  The only reason to remove the grafts is if they are creating a nasal deformity.  Otherwise, the preexisting grafts should be left in place because more damage will occur trying to remove them.  Additional cartilage grafts can be harvested from either the nose or ears depending upon outcome of the previous surgery and how much grafting is needed for the revision rhinoplasty.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 146 reviews

Reusing septal cartilage grafts during revision surgery

Yes, it is possible to reuse septal cartilage that has already been placed in your original surgery. However, this presumes that you need to remove those grafts. It's often best to be prepared to have additional cartilage harvested from elsewhere (ear or rib) in case you need more grafts placed.

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

Septal cartilage for revision rhinoplasty

Yes, existing cartilage is used for revision rhinoplasty. Revision plastic surgery ranges very broadly from minor to major. Most plastic surgeons prefer to reshape existing cartilage, rather than obtain new cartilage to make a new nose. However, due to scarring and prior surgery, the quality of the existing septal cartilage may be inadequate for future surgery. You will receive a variety of opinions, as there isn't one correct answer. Only after a comprehensive evaluation can a rhinoplasty surgeon help determine appropriate options for you.  Best of luck.


Dr. Chaboki


Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Can grafts be reused

Existing septal cartilage grafts can be reused. The question is what is prompting the need for revision and the new desired result. In order to achieve that you may need new/additional grafts to get that result.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Can Existing Septal Cartilage Grafts Be Reused in Revision Rhinoplasty?

 Possibly if they are still intact.  If not, conchal ear cartilage should be available as an alternative grafting source IMHO.  Hope this helps.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 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.