European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
Purpose In this study, we proposed a "sliced-partial thickness cartilage graft" for nasal contour restoration purposes and compared the long-term graft survival and histological changes of sliced, crushed, and intact cartilage grafts. Methods Nasal septal and auricular cartilage grafts were harvested from 8 rabbits. Sliced, crushed, or intact cartilage grafts were measured in thickness with a micrometer and re-implanted. 4 months later, specimens were histologically evaluated and thickness were measured. Results Both nasal septal and auricular crushed cartilage lost significantly more chondrocytes than sliced samples together with fibrosis, multiple fracture lines, and even ossification. Sliced and intact cartilages were histologically similar except sliced cartilage had some minor changes limited to its cut surface. Sliced cartilages retained their thickness, histology, and structural properties in the long term similar to intact cartilages whereas -contrary to expectations- crushed specimens had significantly higher thickness measurements at the end of 4 months. Conclusion Sliced cartilage grafts prepared with an atraumatic cartilage slicer are an ideal camouflaging material with its uniform thickness, and malleability. Crushed cartilages seemingly getting thicker without histological findings could be explained by lower than actual initial measurements due to its structural weakness and getting squeezed when the standard pressure of the micrometer was applied.