Commonly used maneuvers for upward tip rotation include cephalic trim of the lateral alar cartilages, caudal resection of the septum, and shortening of the upper lateral cartilages (ULCs). Few techniques for surgical manipulation of the ULCs are found in the literature, and none accurately describe the measured effect of the caudal resection on tip rotation. The purpose of this study is to predict the change in upward rotation of the nasal tip for a measured incremental resection of the ULCs.
Ten fresh cadaveric noses were dissected with the aid of loupe magnification via an open rhinoplasty approach. The ULCs were sectioned in 20% increments, and measurements of the nasolabial angle (NLA) were recorded with the use of a goniometer. True lateral photographs were obtained for the photographic analysis of the specimens.
The average length of the ULC was 16.8 ± 1.6 mm. Serial reduction of the ULC length by 4 sequential 20% increments resulted in a mean NLA change of 3.6, 2.7, 2.1, and 1.9 degrees, respectively. The average incremental change in NLA for the 4 resections was 2.6 degrees.
Caudal resection of the ULC has a measurable effect on the upward rotation of the nasal tip. A 20% resection correlates with an average change in the NLA of 2.6 degrees. Because caudal resection of the ULC is a powerful tool in the armamentarium of the rhinoplasty surgeon that can cause narrowing of the internal nasal valve and hallowing of the lower nasal sidewalls, it should be used with caution in a selected group of patients when attempting to elevate the “droopy” tip.