Structural support for the nose is essential for optimal beauty, durability, and functionality of the nose. Cartilage damage to the nose can lead to a collapsed nose, saddle nose deformity, and other aesthetic and functional problems that may necessitate a rib rhinoplasty.
Restore nasal structure with autologous rib cartilage
The nose requires strong underlying bony and cartilaginous framework for optimal support and functionality. The nasal bones and midface provide support to the upper third of the nose. Meanwhile, the lower two-thirds of the nose is supported primarily by cartilage, including the nasal tip (lower lateral) cartilages, upper lateral cartilages, and septal cartilage. When nasal cartilage is damaged, you may suffer nasal collapse or deformity.
Dr. Hicks corrects structural nasal deformities using cartilage grafts taken from the septum, ear, or rib. Septal cartilage is the most convenient and versatile source of graft material, but there may not be an adequate amount available for grafting. Patients who need a large amount of strong cartilage often benefit from the use of rib cartilage grafts. These grafts may be taken from donor cartilage or from a small section of your own rib cartilage.
Benefits of rib rhinoplasty:
- Improve your nasal appearance
- Provide stable, long lasting support to the nose
- Correct nasal deformities
- Improve beathing and sense of smell
- Correct problems from a prior rhinoplasty
What is rib rhinoplasty?
Rib rhinoplasty is a type of nose job performed using cartilage harvested from the rib. Dr. Hicks may harvest the rib cartilage from your body (autologous) or from a commercial supplier of cadaveric tissue that has been extensively treated and prepared for use in this type of surgery. Rib cartilage is often superior to ear cartilage because it is strong, straight, and plentiful. If you need major nasal reconstruction, rib cartilage is the ideal source material because it ensures optimal structural support, which is essential in producing a favorable aesthetic result.
Common scenarios for rib rhinoplasty:
A rib rhinoplasty is most commonly performed to correct the undesired cosmetic or functional results of a previous nose job that did not provide the intended outcome. Inexperienced surgeons often remove too much-supporting cartilage, leading to an overly pinched nose, narrow nasal tip, or a collapsed nose. In cases like this, Dr. Hicks may use rib cartilage to rebuild your nasal framework.
Saddle Nose Deformity
A saddle nose deformity occurs when the middle third of the nose collapses because of a weak or insufficient septum. This condition is usually found in patients with a history of autoimmune vascular disease, septum perforation due to drug use, or trauma. A rib rhinoplasty can reconstruct the septum, address the nasal collapse, and improve the appearance of the nose.
You may suffer trauma following motor vehicle accidents, athletic injuries, or other incidents resulting in damage to your face and nose. If your nasal bones or cartilage are damaged as a result of this trauma, you may have a nasal deformity or functional problems. A rib rhinoplasty can help restore your nasal structure and function following injury.
How is rib rhinoplasty performed?
Your rib rhinoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. Dr. Hicks makes an incision on the chest and harvests a section of rib cartilage, usually from the sixth or seventh rib. This does not result in any long-term functional or aesthetic changes to your chest. She then meticulously carves the cartilage into various types of grafts. The rest of the procedure is similar to other rhinoplasty surgeries, except that rib cartilage will be used for grafting material instead of using septal or ear cartilage. Rib rhinoplasty surgeries are typically very complex and may take several hours to complete.
What can I expect after rib rhinoplasty?
Recovery following a rib rhinoplasty is most similar to that following revision rhinoplasty: you will experience some swelling, numbness, tenderness, bruising, and discomfort around your nose, and the swelling and numbness may persist for longer than they typically do in a primary rhinoplasty. Your nose may also feel congested and stuffed while the splints are in place – this will improve when the splints are removed one week after surgery.
You may resume work and light exercise after a week, and you may slowly increase activity back to your normal level, starting about 10-14 days after surgery. In most cases, you should wait 4 weeks before wearing glasses and 6-8 weeks before participating in contact sports. Although the results will continue to improve over several months, most patients feel comfortable in social situations after a week or two. It can take several months for your nose to heal completely. You should carefully follow Dr. Hicks’ postoperative guidelines to prevent complications and ensure a smooth recovery.
Your rib rhinoplasty consultation with Dr. Hicks
Dr. Hicks provides a thorough consultation to explore your treatment options. She will discuss your concerns and goals and review your medical history, including discussion of any previous nasal surgery or trauma . During the consultation, she will let you know if you’re a good candidate for rib rhinoplasty; if so, she will explain why the use of rib cartilage is beneficial in your particular case.
Part of this discussion includes whether it would be better for Dr. Hicks to use your own rib cartilage or donor rib cartilage. The surgical plan and patient factors, such as age and other medical conditions, are taken into account. However, a big part of this decision is patient preference – Dr. Hicks will try to honor that preference as long as it would not negatively affect the surgical outcome.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Hicks
Dr. Hicks is a board-certified head and neck surgeon and double fellowship-trained facial plastic surgeon. She specializes in advanced rhinoplasty techniques that improve the structure and aesthetics of your nose while maintaining a natural appearance. Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Hicks to explore your rib rhinoplasty options in Greenville, South Carolina.