Cottle Elevator- A Boon To Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is a broad spectrum of procedures that include cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery and generally have major consequences on the human body. This method restores normalcy in terms of body function as well as enhances appearance aesthetically.

The procedure involves the use of some of the evolving surgical tools that have well-built features effective to bring out better and desired results. One such tool is the Cottle elevator.

What are a Cottle Elevator and its Features?

This is a specialized instrument used in the nasal septum in facial plastic and cosmetic surgery.

The 9″ long-bodied Cottle elevator has a very unique structure. It has a curved elevator at the front end and the other end is broader to hold on to it conveniently. Few Cottle elevators are curved at both ends.

 When using it to elevate the flap, the curvature faces the nasal septum, and pressure is applied on the surface of the septum.

The instrument is available in various sizes and is made in such a way that the broad blade or elevator allows a larger tissue area to be lifted. It also bears a graduated scale in centimeters.

Uses of Cottle Elevator

Cottle elevators are of various types and are used in multiple procedures such as:

  • Facial surgery
  • Several nasal procedures, for instance, treatment of nasal septum or rhinoplasty
  • Removing rib cartilage-there is a specified elevator for removal of ribs
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Neurosurgery- used to create soft tissue flap

Different types for specific functions

As has been mentioned earlier, Cottle elevators are designed differently for the execution of different procedures. These instruments deal with some of the delicate and most sensitive structures of the human body. Consequently, it is vital to know all the types with their unique structural features and use.

Cottle periosteal and skin elevator

Structure: It is made from stainless steel. This has a special structure with a blade and shaft.

  • Blade- only one blade, usual width is 9mm, slightly curved, blunt blade end.
  • Shaft- wide and specialized for holding.


  • Lifts peritoneum and soft tissue from cartilage and bone.
  • Useful in malaria implant pockets.

Cottle septum elevator

Structure: It is double-ended and made up of stainless steel.

  • Spatula style end- 3 mm wide, used for lifting soft tissues.
  • Shank- with two graduated tips or shafts. It holds the elevator.
  • Blade- 4 mm wide, usually curved, sharp, rounded knife-like blade end and is specialized to use in making an incision.


  • During facial and nasal reconstructive surgeries, it is specifically used to lift soft tissues.
  • Also during intranasal procedures, it elevates and dissects the nasal septum.

Cottle rib cage elevator

Structure: Double-ended elevator.

  • Spatula end- curved and blunt
  • Shank/ handle- holds the elevator.
  • Blade end- curved, and sharp, and the function is to make an incision.


  • Removal of rib cartilage from the rib.
  • During surgeries, this particular type of elevator is scraped along the ribs and thus removes tissue and cartilage from the ribs.


Plastic surgery is a very fine and intricate procedure that requires a lot of constantly evolving surgical tools with an increasing level of understanding and knowledge. For, instance Cottle elevator itself comes up with a lot of advantages as below:

  • Easy to use
  • A wider blade allows the lifting of more tissues
  • The dynamic and multipurpose tool used in making an incision as well as elevation of soft tissues
  • Surgeon-friendly as it provides a good grip to the handler
  • Innovation of new tools thus always makes complicated surgeries much easier

Leave a reply