Septal Vs Ear Cartilage for Asian Rhinoplasty?

What are the pros and cons of using septal vs ear cartilage in Asian Rhinoplasty? Does harvesting septal cartilage run the risk of damaging the operation of your nose? Does ear cartilage result in your ears looking different from each other? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 3

Asian Rhinoplasty: Grafting Options

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The choice of grafts for use in Asian Rhinoplasty depends on the operative goals of the surgery. Septal cartilage is generally considered the preferred grafting material in any rhinoplasty. However, ethnic rhinoplasty patients -- such as Asian and African American patients -- typically have less septal cartilage available compared to patients of Caucasion, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern ethnicities. Asian patients often desire to have their bridge built up (dorsal augmentation) and their tip projection increased. If limited septal cartilage is available then the amount of augmenation will be less.

There are several advantages to using septal cartilage:

  • Requires no additional incision
  • Ideal thickness and stiffness
  • Does not risk damaging rhinoplasty result (when properly harvested)
  • Does not usually warp or become distorted

Ear cartilage grafts are used in many applications in rhinoplasty, including Asian Rhinoplasty. Ear cartilage is usually a second (or third) choice compared to septal cartilage. When harvest correctly, there is no change to the shape or function of the ear.

Disadvantages of Ear Cartilage include:

  • Limited amounts
  • Excessively curved or convoluted
  • More brittle and provides less structural support.
  • Requires additional surgical site and incision

Source of Cartilage for Grafting

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Septal cartilage is more readily available when doing the rhinoplasty surgery. Frequently both septal and ear cartilage are needed when doing augmentation surgery on an Asian nose. When done well, it is unlikely you will see a significant difference in your ears. Look at your ears rigt now - they are not the same. Asymmetry is normal. Harvesting septal catilage should not cause problems.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Septal cartilage is the better option.

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Cartilage grafting to refine your nasal tip is common. I wouldn't use either cartilage graft to enhance your bridge.

Asian noses and African-American tend to have thick skin, soft cartilage, and curved bridges. I think that septal cartilage has advantages over ear cartilage. It's definitely straighter, and easily harvested during the time of Rhinoplasty. Your ear cartilage is curved, and may be as weak or weaker than your nose's.

It's a great question, but the most important question is: "What can I do to get the best result after my Rhinoplasty?"

You should find a board-certified, experienced Rhinoplasty surgeon with many photos demonstrating favorable results with noses that look like yours.

Best regards.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 429 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.