Association of Skin Thickness With Alar Base Reduction in Patients Undergoing Lateral Crural Repositioning and Strut Grafting

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Knowing the operation plan is important for rhinoplasty surgeons to prevent unpredictable results.


To investigate the frequency of alar base resection in patients with different skin thickness who underwent lateral crural repositioning and lateral crural strut graft and to evaluate the results in the context of the current literature.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This retrospective case series study included 621 patients who underwent primary open septorhinoplasty by the same surgeon between January 1, 2012, and June 30, 2015. From the surgical notes, operation type (lateral crural repositioning [LCrep] with lateral crural strut grafting [LCSG] and with or without alar base resection) and skin type were recorded. Study participants’ skin types were determined intraoperatively and divided into 3 groups: (1) thick skin (the tip definition was limited by skin thickness and subcutaneous tissue), (2) thin skin (the tip cartilage was visible and could be observed despite overlying soft tissue and skin), and (3) normal skin (the tip cartilage during the procedure had no effect on the tip definition).

Main Outcomes and Measures

The rate of alar base resection according to the type of operation performed and patient skin thickness.


Of the 621 patients in the study, 95 (15.3%) were men and 526 (84.7%) were women. Lateral crural repositioning with LCSG was performed in 319 surgical procedures (51.4%), and alar base reduction was performed in 329 (53.0%). The rate of alar base resection differed significantly on the basis of whether LCrep with LCSG was performed (odds ratio [OR], 1.82; 95% CI, 1.32-2.50; P < .001). In patients with thin skin, there was no significant difference in the incidence of alar base resection associated with LCrep with LCSG (OR, 2.034; 95% CI, 0.912-4.539; P = .08). In patients with thick skin, a significant difference in the frequency of alar base resection was associated with the application of LCrep with LCSG (OR, 1.995; 95% CI, 1.228-3.241; P = .005). In patients with normal skin, LCrep with LCSG had no significant association with the frequency of alar base resection (OR, 1.557; 95% CI, 0.930-2.607; P = .09).

Conclusions and Relevance

The necessity of alar base reduction after LCrep with LCSG is greater in patients with thick skin than in patients with thin and normal skin. This study is the first to our knowledge to examine this topic in rhinoplasty.

Level of Evidence


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