After the cartilage in 22-year old Xiaolian’s nose was destroyed by an infection following a car accident, doctors in China had no choice other than to grow him a new one. And while growing a second nose out of his forehead may seem freaky to most of us, Dr. David Cargill, an attending plastic surgeon at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, as well as Lenox Hill Hospital in New York states that it a very common technique
“The reason we use the forehead, rather than a less conspicuous part of the body is because we prefer to use similar tissues to reconstruct organs within the same area," he stated. “The forehead is also enervated with blood vessels that nourish the tissue transplant, so the surgeons don't have to undertake laborious microsurgery to disconnect and reconnect those vessels to place the nose in its correct position.”
The Chinese doctors used tissue expanders to stretch the skin under Xiaolian’s forehead, then molded a rough shape for the new nose from cartilage harvested from his ribs, using screws and plates to hold it together. Once it is ready, they will them shift the whole assemblage (including skin, blood vessels and cartilage) to replace his old nose in the center of his face. The remaining skin flaps on his forehead will then be sutured together, leaving a small scar.