Irradiated homograft rib cartilage in facial reconstruction

Alan J.C. Burke, Tom D. Wang, Ted A. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate long-term structural, functional, and cosmetic results as well as resorption with the use of irradiated homologous rib cartilage grafts (IHRGs). Design: Cases in which IHRGs were used were reviewed for a long-term follow-up study for nasal and auricular reconstruction, dating back 18 years. A retrospective medical chart review was conducted in the cases in which the patients had returned for clinical examination with photographic documentation. Results: A total of 118 patients who had undergone nasal reconstruction with a mean follow-up of 36 months were identified from our database. There were 12 patients who had undergone auricular reconstruction, with a mean follow-up of 82 months. Resorption with compromise in cosmesis was noted in 11% (11/ 102) of the grafts used in nasal reconstruction but in 71% (5/7) of those used in auricular reconstruction. Minor resorption without change in form or function was found in 29% (30/102) of the cases. Loss of support, which was related more to graft displacement rather than resorption, was identified in 19% (21/109) of the cases, and loss of support affecting cosmesis was observed in 8% (9/109) of the cases. Maintenance of form and function appeared to be unrelated to the amount of resorption noted for the nasal grafts but was significant for the auricular grafts (P<.01). Conclusions: The longevity of IHRGs has been favorable for functional, structural, and cosmetic nasal reconstruction, with low levels of resorption identified clinically. The use of IHRGs was associated with an unacceptable rate of graft failure in auricular reconstruction; therefore, they are no longer selected for use in such cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-341
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Facial Plastic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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