What Are the Possible After Effects of Rib Cartilage Rhinoplasty Besides Wrapping in Years to Come?

I've been doing some research for rhinoplasty. And most doctors seem to say rib cartilage would be better off then using gore-Tex. So far it seems like the only bad effect so far by using rib cartilage is possible wrapping when done by an unskilled doctor. Does that mean it would last forever? Is there anything else I've missed? I would appreciated any feedback. Thank you :)

Doctor Answers 3

Possible Side Effects For Rib Cartilage Rhinoplasty

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Dear Cheramee,


Performed by extensively experienced surgeon, the rib cartilage graft Rhinoplasty will result in exceptional results when shaped correctly.


Aside the mild risk of pneumothorax (punctured lung) in an autologous graft, the cartilage can move from and cause asymmetries or it can fail to fuse an become moveable under the skin of the nose.

I encourage you to seek consultations with board certified surgeons of ample experience in the field.


Thank you for your question and the best of luck to you.

Dr. Sajjadian


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 205 reviews

Long Term Problems Using Rib Cartilage Grafts

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Other than warping there are few long term problems using rib cartilage in rhinoplasty surgery. I feel it is better to use the patient's own tissue rather than synthetics. Survival is typically excellent. The main problems associated with rib grafts are the discomfort following their harvest, possible unfavorable donor scars, and the minimal risk of a pneumothorax when the grafts are taken.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Risks of Rib Cartilage- Costal cartilage

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Cartilage in rhinoplasty is used for support and structure to the nose. The three most commonly used donor areas in rhinoplasty are
  1. Septal cartilage (often missing in revision rhinoplasty) and made of fibroelastic cartilage
  2. Ear cartilage -softer cartilage and is elastic type of cartilage (hence softer and likely to bend)
  3. Rib or costal cartilage- firmer cartilage and similar in makeup as septal cartilage
The main risks of harvesting costal cartilage are as follows:
  • Warping-This risk can be minimized with experience of carving rhinoplasty, patients with calcifications in the rib, and the location and type of graft placement
  • Scar- The scar size can be minimized based on the patient's body type (thinner patients can have a smaller scar) and surgeon's experience with more advanced surgeon's harvesting from 1-3 cm rib scars
  • Pneumothorax- This is where a lung deflates since the surgeon is working around the rib site. This is rare but the surgeon must be able to handle this risk.
  • Breast implant violation- Patients with breast implants may be at risk for a "popped" implant although this is unlikely
Although there are some risks with rib cartilage, the benefits can often outweigh the risks as it costal cartilage is strong and abundant in younger and middle aged patients. For revision rhinoplasty, patients should seek out surgeons with experience in using rib cartilage as results may be compromised without enough cartilage or the sole use of ear cartilage in certain circumstances.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 180 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.