Relapsing polychondritis is a rare disease affecting only 3-4 people in one million. Men and women are affected at the same rate and onset usually occurs between 40-60 years of age. This degenerative condition causes intermittent swelling and inflammation of cartilage. It usually affects the ear, nose and joints, although it can also affect other parts of the body that contain cartilage. The cartilage may deteriorate, causing the overlying structure to become “floppy.” When this occurs in the nose, the condition causes a dip in the bridge of the nose creating a saddle nose look.
Relapsing polychondritis is thought to be an autoimmune disease. Exactly why it occurs has yet to be discovered. Research into the disease has shown that some cases may be linked to abnormal reactions by blood cells. These reactions include thyroglobulin, which is a thyroid protein, the cells of organ walls, adrenal cells or thyroid cells. When the antibodies in the bloodstream attack cartilage, symptoms of relapsing polychondritis may appear. This condition has also been linked to an immunologic sensitivity to type 2 collagen. This collagen occurs naturally in skin and connective tissue.
Preserving the Structure of the Nose
When the structure of the nasal bridge has been damaged, breathing may be obstructed, depending on the severity of the condition. In some situations when the bridge of the nose has collapsed, surgical cartilage grafting may be recommended to restore its appearance and function.
This complicated surgery requires the skill of an experienced plastic surgeon. New cartilage is grafted in to rebuild the structure of the nose rather than reshaping cartilage, as would happen with normal reconstructive rhinoplasty.
A saddle nose deformity affects your appearance, may diminish your self-confidence and cause breathing problems. If you suffer from this condition, contact Dr. Maurice Khosh, one of New York City’s experts in saddle nose repair. He will advise you on the best option to restore the appearance and function of your nose. Call today to schedule a consultation appointment.