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Prevention and correction of nasal tip bossae in rhinoplasty.

OBJECTIVE: To describe our experiences with nasal tip bossae, suggest a standard nomenclature, discuss causative factors, and provide a comprehensive, analytic approach to the prevention and correction of bossae.

BACKGROUND: Nasal tip bossae are knoblike protuberances of the alar cartilages that can arise after rhinoplasty. Early bossae are due to uncorrected or inadvertently created asymmetries, while late bossae are due to fibrosis and scar contracture acting on a weakened or unreconstituted cartilaginous framework. Numerous techniques may be used to prevent and treat bossae; however, we found no article in the existing literature that presents an in-depth, analytic description of management techniques.

METHODS: We analyzed the predisposing factors and techniques leading to bossa formation and studied principles of prevention and correction. All rhinoplasty cases that presented for revision from 1985 through 2000 were reviewed for bossae formation via internal computer search. Previous operative records for rhinoplasty cases were examined when available. Intraoperative notes and photgraphs of the revision surgery were examined.

RESULTS: Etiologies for bossae were consistently found, and successful treatment modalities were noted.

CONCLUSIONS: Nasal tip bossae are most often due to dynamic forces acting on iatrogenic changes and/or weakness in the alar cartilages. By minimizing cartilage excision, reinforcing areas of weakness, avoiding asymmetry and irregularity, and maintaining alar integrity, formation of bossae may be prevented. The treatment of bossae must be individualized and can range from simple suture stabilization techniques to complex domal cartilage replacement grafts, depending on the observed defect.

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