What’s A Spreader Graft?

Plastic Surgeons who perform rhinoplasty on a regular basis and who apply the latest techniques in both primary and secondary rhinoplasty will be more than familiar with the term “spreader graft”.

This term will occasionally be mentioned during a rhinoplasty consultation, whether it be for functional or cosmetic reasons, or both. Many patients however remain confused about what exactly is a spreader graft and it’s role in rhinoplasty.

Essentially a spreader graft is a small (and usually long) block of material (usually cartilage) placed in the middle portion of the nose. It is placed between the septum (the midline structure of the nose) and the side of the nose, and usually as a pair, although occasionally only one may be used. The cartilage used in spreader grafts can be taken from the non-essential portion of the septum, the ear, or the rib. Spreader grafts are not necessary in all rhinoplasties. They are often applied in the following circumstances:

1. To open up the internal part of the nose in situations where the airway is narrowed (and therefore causing breathing problems).
2. To fill in deficiencies on the dorsum (roof) of the nose after it has been reduced.
3. To create pleasing vertical lines on the dorsum of the nose. This is often referred to as “dorsal aesthetic lines”.
4. To support the septum in cases where it is weak and pose a risk to collapse of the nose.
5. To support the nose after it has been straightened.

Rhinoplasty is more than just making a nose bigger, smaller, or straighter. It is about removing or adjusting parts of the nose that may be causing aesthetic or functional problems, and re-building the nose in a structural fashion. Structural Rhinoplasty is now considered the gold standard in functional and aesthetic rhinoplasty.

The nose is made up of its various components (dorsum, tip, radix, columella etc.), and reconstituting and supporting the structures that make up these components is paramount to having an aesthetically pleasing as well as long-lasting result.