Dr. Dean Toriumi, a professor of reconstructive and facial plastic surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has used rib cartilage in some of his rhinoplasty procedures for 23 years. In the past six years, Toriumi has preferred rib cartilage for secondary rhinoplasty, mostly because he has improved the procedure for harvesting the cartilage so that the recovery time matches that for surgeries using ear cartilage. Dr. Toriumi has found that patients who have had rib cartilage used in secondary rhinoplasties report the same amount of pain as with ear cartilage. The scars from harvesting rib cartilage are less than 2 cm long, and many are less than 1.7 cm long, making use of rib cartilage advantageous in many cases.
Dr. Dean Toriumi uses rib cartilage in cases in which the nose is extremely short or extremely damaged. In these cases, there is not enough of the original nose structure left to make use of ear cartilage as a building material. In addition, Toriumi has noticed that when he uses ear cartilage for secondary rhinoplasty, the resulting features do not hold up very well and patients are left facing a future with corrective surgeries every three to six years.
After Dr. Dean Toriumi completes a rhinoplasty with rib cartilage, the nose may initially look very wide. However, as the patient heals, the nose achieves better definition, eventually becoming much smaller and thinner. In addition, those patients whose surgery has included rib cartilage have noses that retain their appearance, even years after surgery. While Dr. Toriumi primarily uses rib cartilage when a patient needs a dramatic secondary rhinoplasty, he also finds that the material provides superior results for the correction of severely deviated septums and for other serious nasal deformities.