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Sub-alar batten grafts as treatment for nasal valve incompetence; description of technique and functional evaluation

R F André, A R D'Souza, H P Kunst, H D Vuyk
Rhinology 2006, 44 (2): 118-22

OBJECTIVE: To describe and evaluate the functional results of a surgical technique for treating nasal valve incompetence, in which a cartilage graft called a sub-alar batten graft is placed along the undersurface of the lateral crus of the lower lateral cartilage.

METHODS: The functional outcomes of 27 patients who had sub-alar batten grafts placed on 39 sides were evaluated by means of clinical examination and subjective self-assessment.

RESULTS: Of a total of 39 sides operated upon, 10 (26%) were rated as optimal, 15 (39%) as improved, 13 (33%) as equal and 1 (2%) as worse. Overall on 25 sides (65%) the post-operative situation was considered to be better than pre-operatively. In all cases in which there was a wish for cosmetic improvement, besides the functional indication, this was obtained, and in no case did the grafts give cause to cosmetic grievances or other complications.

CONCLUSION: Placement of sub-alar battens had a positive effect on nasal valve function in roughly two thirds of cases in this series. Although in our opinion this result was slightly disappointing from a purely functional point of view, they can improve the cosmetic result and continue to be considered in cases in which avoidance of surface irregularities is a primary concern or as a preventative measure in rhinoplasty patients at risk for post-operative valve collapse.

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