The lateral crural J-flap repair of nasal valve collapse

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 May;128(5):640-9. doi: 10.1016/s0194-5998(03)00096-2.


Objectives: Nasal valve collapse is a common cause of nasal airway obstruction. Although many techniques have been devised to correct both the functional and aesthetic aspects of this problem, none is uniformly successful. I propose that the true locus and solution to the problem lies lateral to the nasal valve angle in the fibroareolar tissue that connects the lateral aspect of the lateral crus to the bony pyriform aperture. Age-related or surgically induced weakening and loosening of these structurally important, fibroareolar connections result in a prolapse of the lateral aspect of the lateral crura away from the pyriform margin and toward the septum with a consequent narrowing of the nasal valve region. A new method of repair is described.

Methods: Bilateral marginal incisions are made following the curvature of the palpated caudal edge of the lower lateral cartilage starting at the dome region medially. The incision is extended laterally until the entire lateralmost aspect of the lateral crus is freed, generating a J-shaped chondrocutaneous flap that is medially and superiorly based. Following this, supraperichondrial dissection of the lateral crus is carried out, exposing the dome region and the upper lateral cartilage. The J-flap is then pulled caudally and laterally, and the excess overlapping tissue is evaluated. Two composite strips of vestibular skin and cartilage are resected: one parallel to the marginal incision and the second at the lateral edge of the J-flap. The flap is transposed and sutured into position, pulling open the nasal valve angle.

Results: Preliminary results are presented for 18 patients who underwent 19 lateral crural J-flap repairs of nasal valve collapse. Nine patients underwent concomitant septal, sinus, or turbinate procedures. Two patients underwent unilateral J-flap repair. One patient required revision. Eighty-nine percent of patients reported markedly improved nasal airway patency and elimination of the subjective sensation of inspiratory collapse. Mean time to follow-up was 257 days. There has thus far been no noticeable decrement in benefit over time.

Conclusion: This new technique for the treatment of nasal valve collapse may offer a simple and effective approach to the problem of nasal valve collapse with minimal morbidity and a high rate of success. The technique is based on a new view of the structural etiology of nasal valve collapse.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Cavity / physiopathology
  • Nasal Cavity / surgery*
  • Nasal Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Nasal Obstruction / surgery*
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Treatment Outcome