Background: Resecting the cephalic component of the lateral crus in an attempt to reduce tip bulbosity has the potential to aggravate and/or cause alar retraction. It is a more serious problem for those patients who exhibit borderline alar retraction.
Method: Fourteen primary rhinoplasty patients with borderline alar/columellar relationships for alar retraction formed the study. They did not warrant frank treatment of alar retraction but did exhibit tip bulbosity. An “island” of cephalic lateral crus was developed by an intercartilaginous incision and another 6 mm cephalic to the caudal border of the lateral crus. One or more mattress sutures were placed in the main body of the lateral crus to stiffen and straighten it. The “island” of cephalic crus was then slipped under the main body of the lateral crus.
Results: At 11 months to 2½ years, 13 of the 14 patients demonstrated no significant change in their preoperative alar/columellar relationships. Bulbosity was corrected in all patients. One patient, however, required a revision using an alar contour rim graft. The mean preoperative alar-nostril axis measurement was 1.48 mm (range, 1.3 to 1.9 mm) in contrast to a mean postoperative measurement of 1.71 mm (range, 1.5 to 2.2 mm). A one-tailed paired t test indicated no statistically significant difference between preoperative and postoperative values.
Conclusions: The cephalic part of the lateral crus can act as a lateral crural strut to maintain the ala in a more caudal position. The technique is useful for borderline alar retraction and when lengthening the short nose for which there is a need to preserve side wall length.