Will Ear Cartilage Regrow in Ear After It is Used in Rhinoplasty?

I heard from some doctors said that ear cartilage will regrow in the original place of where it was taken out. Is this true? If this is the case, then can we use regrown cartilage in our secondary Rhinoplasty if the original one has been used up in the primary surgery?

Doctor Answers 14

Ear cartilage will not re-grow

Once cartilage has been removed from the ear it will not re-grow. This will not have any bearing on primary or revision rhinoplasty surgery. Ear cartilage when taken and used for reconstructive rhinoplasty in the nose does tend to be more firm and hard in the nose than nasal cartilage.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

No, it won't grow again.

 The cartilage that was removed won't regrow. You can use the other ear as well as the septum. For very large defects we use rib, but that is only if there is no other supply.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Ear Cartilage Grafting In Rhinoplasty

Ear cartilage -- or any other type of cartialge -- does not regrow in its original site once it has been removed.

In most rhinoplasty surgeries, the surgeon uses cartilage from the septum to straighten, strengthen, or reshape the nasal framework. If the cartilage from the septum is removed or damaged during a septoplasty, there may not be adequate quantities available for the rhinoplasty. If there is not sufficient cartilage in your nose for a rhinoplasty, grafts must obtained from another site - either the ear or the rib.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

May be possible.

I agree, if the perichondrium is left, the cartilage may regrow.  It is not common for that to happen however, from my experience.  On the other hand, there is not a significant deformity of the ear.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Ear cartilage can regrow.

I don’t mean to be a contrarian, but strictly speaking, the answer to your first question is, yes, ear cartilage used for nasal reconstruction can regrow in the place where it was removed. This is totally dependent on whether the perichondrium (the tissue that surrounds the cartilage and is responsible for cartilage growth) is removed with the cartilage or not. If the perichondrium is left in place, the cartilage can regrow. This does not mean, however, that one can use the regrown cartilage for further reconstructive purposes. The regrowth takes a long time to become thick enough to function properly in the nose, and may never get as thick as needed.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Regrowing Ear Cartilage

Cartilage harvested from anyplace on the body will not regrow. The loss of ear cartilage will not cause any functional or cosmetic problems. If additional material is needed, rib cartilage is the best source. 

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

No, but usually there is plenty available for secondary rhinoplasty.

As you have read by the other physician comments, cartilage does not regrow after it has been harvested from the ear. The bowl of the ear is usually where we harvest cartilage, and there is generally no ear deformity results after harvest. We can obtain a great deal of cartilage from the bowls of both ears. Therefore, I would be very surprised if there was no available cartilage in your ears to use for secondary rhinoplasty. However, if your surgeon feels there is no cartilage available from your septum or ears, you may need to have cartilage harvested from your rib.

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews


The ear cartilage that is removed will not regrow, but the reason we use it from this area is that it is well camoflauged in this area.

W. Tracy Hankins, MD
Henderson Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 299 reviews

Ear cartilge as donor site for rhinoplasty

Ear cartilage and nasal cartilage grow over a lifetime, that is why the nose and ears sometimes look larger as we age. However, once the cartilage is harvested for graft material, the ear will not regrow cartilage to replace the harvested piece.

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

Ear cartilage won't regrow

Ear cartilage won't regrow, but if it has been taken out properly, it won't make a difference to the ear. However, if another rhinoplasty needs a cartilage graft, it will haveto come from a new site.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
3.2 out of 5 stars 7 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.