Oct 28

Do Spreader Grafts Make the Nose Wider?

After seeing the title to this blog you may be wondering:

“what is a spreader graft and who cares?”

– that is of course if you continued to read.

Well the truth is unless you have broken your nose or had previous rhinoplasty, you probably can ignore this blog. However, if you are either of these people then this blog might interest you.

Patients who have broken their nose or present requesting revision rhinoplasty often are noted to have a depressed area in the middle portion of their nose- an “inverted V deformity.” Frequently this is associated with nasal obstruction, but not always. And unfortunately, many doctors and plastic surgeons continue to overlook or miss it.

We’re not going into the details of the internal valve or spreader grafts here (for those interested you can go to our internal valve chapter or our twisted nose chapter ).

Spreader grafts

Bilateral Spreader grafts can be seen in position between the upper lateral cartilages and the septum.

Suffice it to say that when the nose is broken or after previous rhinoplasty, the cartilage that makes up the middle side wall of your nose may have collapsed inward, resulting in the depression you see. For us to correct this problem, one of the things we occasionally have to do is place a spreader graft. The spreader graft is a small rectangular piece of your own cartilage that is generally 3-4 mm long, 1 mm wide which is inserted into the space between your septum and the upper lateral cartilage. While there is no agreement of how spreader grafts work, studies have shown that they are effective in both improving breathing and in improving aesthetics. One potential problem with spreader grafts has always been the belief that spreader grafts widen the nose when placed. Well a very recent study looked to find out if there was anything to this belief. And well, the answer was that spreader grafts do widen the nose a little, but it took a computer to see the difference. And perhaps more importantly, none of the patients in the study complained about the small increase in width when they noticed the positive effects the grafts produced.

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