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Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988 Mar;114(3):291-5.

Irradiated homologous cartilage grafts. Long-term results.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City 52242.


The use of irradiated homologous cartilage for the restoration of facial contour defects remains a controversial issue in reconstructive surgery. Both favorable and unfavorable reports can be found in the literature. Some basic research concerning the rate and mechanism of resorption has been completed but has failed to resolve the issue of the usefulness of this material in day-to-day practice. One frequently cited reference concerning the use of irradiated homologous cartilage in reconstructive surgery was coauthored by two of the present investigators ten years ago. In an effort to place this study in a long-term perspective, we examined 42 of the original 107 patients who formed the initial population base. Sixty-two of the original 145 irradiated homologous cartilage grafts have been followed up for an average of nine years, with an average resorption rate of approximately 75%. Eighteen of 24 grafts followed up from 11 to 16 years completely resorbed. In spite of complete graft resorption, some patients have maintained satisfactory facial contour with fibrous tissue replacement of the cartilage.

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