Nose Bridge Needs Complete Rebuilding. Should I Go With an Implant For Rib Cartilage?

Hi. I had the lid of a glove box go through my nose bridge when I was four years old. I am now 30 and increasingly my nose is getting worse visually. I have found an ENT surgeon who with a plastic surgeon will fix it using bone from my rib. However I am in New Zealand it's the first time anyone has performed this type of surgery. I am worried after reading that perhaps there is an alternative to have it done with an implant. Is this regularly done overseas? what should I be checking with my dr?

Doctor Answers 5

Nasal reconstruction after trauma

For major nasal reconstruction, as you described, the surgical options include the use of your own cartilage or irradiated cartilage. I am making the assumption that your defect is substantial enough to require a large portion of cartilage (not bone as bone is not ideal in your describe circumstance).  The use of your own rib cartilage is well described and is "part of you" where the use of irradiated rib cartilage is non-living, but saves you from having a chest surgery. Each have been well studied with excellent long term results (>30 years).
Be healthy and be well,
James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Rib Cartilage or Dorsal Graft for Nasal Reconstruction


You need to have complete faith in your surgeons ability to secure the proposed result before moving ahead with any surgery. I would suggest some second opinions so that your questions and concerns may be addressed under a direct examination. It is difficult to say which procedure would be best for you without a direct examination or any photos. I will say that you only want this done once so make sure you are in the proper hands of a skilled surgeon who has a lot of experience in reconstructive rhinoplasty. Best regards!

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Nose Bridge Needs Complete Rebuilding. Should I Go With an Implant For Rib Cartilage?

 I have been a plastic and cosmetic surgeon for over 22 years and IMHO experience performing Rhinoplasty or any other procedure is key.  From that point the aesthetic judgement of the surgeon allows the creation of aesthetic results.  IMO, rib cartilage/bone tends to dissolve unevenly over time and for that reason, I only use straight silastic dorsal grafts when building up the nasal bridge during Rhinoplasty.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Unsure About Surgeon Before Rhinoplasty

Dear Rita,

Having a rib cartilage used in a rhinoplasty is a delicate surgery and should be performed by surgeons of ample experience only.

That being said please remember that commendable results require an exceptionally skilled surgeon to perform the surgery and settling for anything less than that increases the chances of corrective surgeries dramatically.


If you are not sure about your surgeon, it is of your best interest to have other opinions.

I hope this helps.
Thank you for your inquiry.
The best of luck to you.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Rib Cartilage

Your Head & Neck Surgeon and Plastic Surgeon should have lots of photos of their work reconstructing noses using rib cartilage.  If you are still unsure of the risks and outcome of this reconstructive procedure, seek second opinions elsewhere.

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 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.