Facial plast Surg 2011; 27(3): 243-248
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1275773
© Thieme Medical Publishers

One-Stage Reconstruction of Nasal Defects: Evaluation of the Use of Modified Auricular Composite Grafts

Thomas Teltzrow1 , Andreas Arens2 , Volker Schwipper3
  • 1Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Klinikum Ernst-von-Bergmann, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Department of Plastic Surgery, Kaiserswerther Diakonie Krankenhaus, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 3Fachklinik Hornheide, Münster, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
12 May 2011 (online)


Complex nasal defects in the distal regions of the nose are cosmetically difficult to repair. In 70 patients over a period of 10 years, defects of the nasal ala and the soft triangle, nasal tip, columella, and columellar-lobular junction were reconstructed with modified auricular composite grafts. A randomized group of 40 of these patients was assessed after a mean of 55.5 months to evaluate the method's functional and cosmetic long-term results. The majority of the patients (60%, n = 48) had been treated primarily for basal cell carcinoma. Of all defects, 57% (n = 46) measured 2 to 3 cm in width and 43% (n = 34) 1 to 2 cm. Seventy-five percent (n = 60) of all defects were composite lesions involving skin, cartilage, and vestibular mucosa, in contrast to 25% (n = 20) involving skin and cartilage with intact vestibular skin. Two crucial technical modifications seemed to have improved survival for larger grafts: first, the use of hinge flaps from the margins of the defect to obtain a well-vascularized recipient bed and optimization of the raw contact surface; second, postoperative gentle scarification of the graft in combination with a constantly applied heparin solution decongests venous stasis normally seen in such grafts. This maneuver establishes a stable and early blood supply enhancing graft take. With this type of treatment, 67 (84%) grafts healed well without further complications, whereas 13 (16%) grafts developed complications, resulting in partial (n = 9) and total (n = 4) necrosis of the transplant. Six of these patients underwent a secondary reconstruction using another auricular composite graft. Long-term results of this method have turned out to be very satisfying in terms of functional and cosmetic outcome and patient acceptance.