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A Better Way to Fix a Broken Nose?

New Technique May Make Rhinoplasties More Effective

WebMD Health News

March 21, 2005 - Hold on to your hockey sticks -- a new technique makes it easier to fix one of the most common and difficult-to-treat injuries suffered by athletes: a broken nose.

Researchers found that using a new type of graft allowed them to safely and effectively straighten crooked noses, even after previous rhinoplasty (plastic surgery of the nose) failed.

The technique, called extender spreader graft, uses a new high-density material to structurally reinforce the nose. Researchers say the graft material provides added strength to protect against future breaks and more stability than previous techniques.

The Challenge of Fixing Broken Noses

A crooked middle third of the nose is a common deformity that occurs naturally and as the result of trauma, such as a hockey puck to the nose. Broken or crooked noses not only affect the appearance of the nose, but the deformity can also compromise the airway by making it more difficult to breathe.

Researchers say correcting a broken nose is challenging because the overlying skin -- and tissue just beneath the skin -- is very thin and exposes any irregularity. In addition, the underlying structure beneath these thin layers is springy and difficult to straighten.

In this study, which appears in the March/April issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the new technique in 26 men and 15 women.

Twenty of the cases were repeat rhinoplasties that resulted in a crooked nose.

After six months to two years of follow-up, the results showed that all 41 patients who received a rhinoplasty using the new graft material experienced substantial improvement in straightening the middle third of the nose. One patient experienced improvement in the nasal airway as well.

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