Objective: To illustrate the safety, effectiveness, and versatility of auricular cartilage grafts in nasal surgery.
Study design: Retrospective chart review of the author's nasal surgery experience for an 8-year period.
Methods: Five hundred eight rhinoplasties were performed over an 8-year period. One hundred one of these cases used auricular cartilage grafts as donor material.
Results: Donor cartilage was used in a wide range of grafting techniques: tip grafts, dorsal onlays, spreader grafts, septal replacements, alar battens, composite grafts, etc. The average follow up was 12 months. The complication rate was low. Five patients experienced complications involving the auricular cartilage graft or its donor site. No patients experienced graft resorption or infection. Donor site morbidity was limited. No auricular infections or hematomas were observed.
Conclusion: Septal cartilage is usually the first choice as donor material in nasal surgery; however, when indicated, auricular cartilage grafts can serve as a safe, effective, and versatile alternative. This conclusion is supported by their successful use in a wide variety of surgical techniques, with long-term follow-up. The author feels strongly that autografts should be favored over alloplastic material. Alloplastic grafts continue to present a risk of infection over the entire life of their use. When a rhinoplasty is performed skillfully with a cartilage autograft, time becomes an ally of the surgeon rather than an enemy.