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Septoplasty retards midfacial growth in a rabbit model


  • Kevin K. Wong MD,

    1. Department of Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Sergei Filatov MD, FRCSC,

    1. Department of Surgery, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia
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  • Douglas J. Kibblewhite MD, FRCSC

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery , University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Vancouver General Hospital Jack Bell Research Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia; theCanada
    • University of British Columbia, #802, 777 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5Z 4J7
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  • Presented as an oral presentation at the Canadian Otolaryngology Society Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 13, 2007.



Septoplasty in the prepubertal age group is a controversial operation because of concerns regarding retardation of subsequent midfacial growth. This study uses a validated rabbit snout model to determine if septoplasty results in midfacial growth retardation, and if the retardation can be averted by replacing resected cartilage with a porous polyethylene implant.

Study Design:

Prospective controlled animal study.


Sixteen 9-week-old New Zealand white rabbits were divided into four groups: two control and two experimental. The experimental groups both underwent conservative submucoperichondrial surgical excision of a portion of their septum, leaving a generous dorsal and caudal septal strut for nasal support similar to what would be done clinically in humans. One of the experimental groups had replacement of the resected area by a rigid porous polyethylene graft, and in the other experimental group the resected area was left empty. Cephalometric measurements were performed on radiographs taken at the time of implantation, and at sacrifice when the rabbits were mature at 24 weeks of age.


There were significant disturbances in snout growth between experimental and control groups, and no significant differences between the two experimental groups or between the two control groups.


These data demonstrate midfacial growth retardation after conservative septoplasty in young rabbits, and that this retardation could not be averted by replacing the resected cartilage with a porous polyethylene graft. These data are in agreement with human studies. Laryngoscope, 2010