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Model to Estimate Threshold Mechanical Stability of Lower Lateral Cartilage.



In rhinoplasty, techniques used to alter the shape of the nasal tip often compromise the structural stability of the cartilage framework in the nose. Determining the minimum threshold level of cartilage stiffness required to maintain long-term structural stability is a critical aspect in performing these surgical maneuvers.


To quantify the minimum threshold mechanical stability (elastic modulus) of lower lateral cartilage (LLC) according to expert opinion.


Five anatomically correct LLC phantoms were made from urethane via a 3-dimensional computer modeling and injection molding process. All 5 had identical geometry but varied in stiffness along the intermediate crural region (0.63-30.6 MPa).

Design, setting, and participants

A focus group of experienced rhinoplasty surgeons (n = 33) was surveyed at a regional professional meeting on October 25, 2013. Each survey participant was presented the 5 phantoms in a random order and asked to arrange the phantoms in order of increasing stiffness based on their sense of touch. Then, they were asked to select a single phantom out of the set that they believed to have the minimum acceptable mechanical stability for LLC to maintain proper form and function.

Main outcomes and measures

A binary logistic regression was performed to calculate the probability of mechanical acceptability as a function of the elastic modulus of the LLC based on survey data. A Hosmer-Lemeshow test was performed to measure the goodness of fit between the logistic regression and survey data. The minimum threshold mechanical stability for LLC was taken at a 50% acceptability rating.


Phantom 4 was selected most frequently by the participants as having the minimum acceptable stiffness for LLC intermediate care. The minimum threshold mechanical stability for LLC was determined to be 3.65 MPa. The Hosmer-Lemeshow test revealed good fit between the logistic regression and survey data (χ23 = 0.92, P = .82).

Conclusions and relevance

This study presents a novel method of modeling anatomical structures and quantifying the mechanical properties of nasal cartilage. Quantifying these parameters is an important step in guiding surgical maneuvers performed in rhinoplasty.

Level of evidence


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