Facial deformities can be caused either due to soft tissue deficiency or hard tissue deficiency. And that diagnosis is made on evaluation by the maxillofacial surgeon on your first visit. These could be caused due to a congenital cause such as clefts, various syndromes affecting the development of the face, trauma causing loss of structure. The rib graft procedure is a simple surgery if done by trained hands.
Every iconic building destroyed deserves reconstruction right? So what does the craniofacial surgeon do when there is an individual who has the same demand?
Just as there are bricks for a building, bone grafts and cartilage grafts are often utilized for facial reconstruction. Bones consist of a cortical hard component and a softer cancellous portion. Cartilage is another important structural component of the body. There are certain bones in the body which are used as donor grafts and these include cranium, ribs, tibia, iliac fibula, etc. Rib grafts are commonly used for reconstruction of nasal defects, tmj defects, etc.
What are rib grafts?
Ribs are the chest bones, containing the bony and the cartilage portions. These are harvested by a surgery wherein a small incision is placed over the 4th or the 5th rib. The scar is inconspicuous. The skin, tissue, muscle are gently pulled apart, the small required portion of the bone of the rib marked and removed. The donor site is closed. The piece of bone is taken and shaped or diced according to the defect or surgeon’s needs. This rib graft can be cortical, cancellous or corticocancellous thus suited for all types of surgeries. The harvest is simple and takes a maximum of 15 to 20minutes.
Why rib graft procedure?
The best donor materials are one’s own bone or autologous bone grafts. The body’s acceptance is higher as compared to any other artificial bone material in the market. The biocompatibility, sustainability which a rib graft gives is much better than the bone substitutes. It’s your own bone, so no question of rejection! It just leaves a small scar which is inconspicuous, barely seen once done. The size of the graft is best suited for facial deformity corrections, eg. for rhinoplasty cases where the deformed nose would require supporting bone graft to get back the shape. Rib grafts are safer to harvest when compared to other grafts in the body. Because of their nature, they are the best options for facial reconstruction considering their physical and biological properties.
At the Richardsons Dental and Craniofacial hospital, hundreds of surgeries have been done using the rib grafts with permanent results. Nasal defects, jaw joint defects have been corrected using rib grafts.
If there is a need for bone grafts, we go to your friendly neighborhood hero: the rib graft.