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Facial Prosthetics

Facial prosthesis is a treatment option for patients who are not candidates for reconstructive surgery or who choose not to undergo further procedures. Patients experiencing loss of a facial feature due to cancer, trauma, or a birth defect can benefit a great deal from a facial prosthesis. The purpose of a facial prosthesis is to restore symmetry, to protect exposed tissues, to reinstate passive function of the lost anatomy, and to serve as a great psychological benefit in the rehabilitation of the patient.

nose
Please visit our Photo Gallery to see more examples of artifical noses.

Ears

An auricular (ear) prosthesis artificially restores all or part of the ear which has been lost due to radical cancer surgery, amputation, burns and/or congenital defects. The delicate structures remaining after surgery are covered by thin, highly sensitive skin. This soft tissue, being very fragile, must be kept free from irritation and debris from the environment. The protective position of the helix helps to cleanse the air of small particles, which might injure and damage the delicate auricular structure. The function of the prosthetic ear shape is to direct sound waves into the auditory canal and to maintain a proper environment for the inner ear membranes. It normally improves hearing by about 20%. The prosthetic ear will retain eyeglasses, and hearing aids, if needed.

facialears
Please visit our Photo Gallery to see more examples of artificial ears.

Noses

A nasal (nose) prosthesis artificially restores all or part of the nose which has been lost due to radical cancer surgery, traumatic amputation, and serious burns. The prosthetic nose not only restores a normal appearance to the face, but it also has a practical purpose in that it moisturizes the air coming in through the nose and filters the debris out. The delicate remaining structures and mucous membranes lining the nasal passages must be kept moist and free from irritation. The prosthesis also duplicates the function of the nose by directing air flow to the nasopharynx; helps to maintain proper humidity for the sinuses and respiratory mucosa; and restores normal speech resonance. Additionally, it provides support for eyeglasses.

noses2
Please visit our Photo Gallery to see more examples of artifical noses.

Orbitals with Ocular Prosthesis

An orbital with ocular prosthesis artificially restores the eye, eyelids, and the adjacent hard and soft tissues which have been lost as a result of a radical surgery (exenteration—see “What To Expect After Surgery”) or traumatic event. It protects the exposed orbital, nasal and sinus tissues from the elements; restores normal speech patterns when the nasal and sinus areas are involved; maintains normalhumidity and moisture for the maxillary sinus, oral, and nasal cavities; houses the artificial eye; and restores the normal appearance of the face.

orbit

Please visit our Photo Gallery to see more example of orbital with ocular prosthesis.

Fabricating a Facial Prosthesis

The process of designing and fabricating a facial prosthesis requires multiple office visits, which may be lengthy, as well as numerous hours of laboratory work. The following steps will be necessary:

Step 1: The creation of a custom facial prosthesis begins with an impression (mold) to duplicate the affected area (ear, nose or eye area). The impression is made by injecting a molding agent into the affected area. Once set, the mold is removed.

Step 2: A dental stone or plaster model is made from the impression and is used as the basis for fitting and making the prosthesis.

Step 3: The prosthesis is first sculpted in wax or a combination of wax and acrylic. The wax allows us to have various try-in sessions to make sure that the restoration is comfortable and well fitting.

Step 4: Once this is achieved, the wax model is cast into a plaster or epoxy mold and then prepared for the placement of pigmented silicone.

Step 5: With the patient present in the office, the future prosthesis is painted to match the fellow area. The process continues until an exact color match is achieved.

Step 6: The prosthesis is delivered to the patient.

Additional steps may be required for some types of prostheses.

Attaching a Facial Prosthesis

Each patient is evaluated individually to determine the best method of retaining his or her prosthesis comfortably and securely. Medical history, dexterity, and extent of tissue loss are all important factors that must be considered. We work with doctors and patients to determine the best method of attaching a facial prosthesis. Please contact us for more information.

Our most common attachment methods include adhesive, implants, or a combination of the two.

FAQs

Care of Facial Prosthesis

Removal and Cleaning

The routine cleaning of your facial prosthesis is important; however, because everyone is different, cleaning intervals may differ. Your experience will determine the best timing for you. Below is the generally accepted method for removing, cleaning, and applying your prosthesis.

Preparing Your Skin and Your Prosthesis

• Repeatedly practice positioning your prosthesis without adhesive to ensure
accurate placement.
• Wash and thoroughly dry your hands and skin where your prosthesis is to
be placed.
• Clean your prosthesis with a soft-bristled toothbrush, mild soap (i.e. Dawn®
Dishwashing Liquid), and warm water.

Removing Your Prosthesis

• Remove your prosthesis from your skin on a daily basis to keep your tissues
healthy and to maintain hygiene. Grasp the thickest edge of your prosthesis and
gently remove it very slowly so as not to tear the edges or irritate your skin. If
necessary, use a moist washcloth over the surface of the prosthesis to loosen
the adhesive from your skin.
• Wash your face with soap and water after removing the prosthesis and remove
any residue of adhesive from the skin. Avoid the use of harsh solvents such as
benzene or xylene.
• Apply a moisturizing lotion on nightly basis to restore natural body oils.
• Report any areas of inflammation or irritation to your doctor or to us.

Cleaning Your Prosthesis

• If adhesive was used, remove it gently rolling the adhesive off the prosthesis
(starting from the center to the outer edges) with your fingertips, using gauze or
textured cloth. Soaking the prosthesis in a cup of warm water helps to soften the
adhesive making it easier to remove. Remove it very slowly so as not to tear
the edges or irritate your skin. We have found that soaking the prosthesis
overnight in water will rehydrate the water based adhesive and make it
much easier to remove the previous day's glue.
• Clean the prosthesis with a soft, bristled toothbrush, mild soap, and warm water.
• Remove any traces of adhesive or oil by gently wiping the tissue side with a
gauze or soft textured cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.
• If your prosthesis has an ocular component, remove and clean it with soap and
water (we recommend Dawn® Dishwashing Liquid). The ocular component
should NOT be cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Place a drop of mineral oil on the
eye and shine once a week. Replace the eye carefully and adjust the location by
squeezing the prosthetic eyelids together.
• If your prosthesis is retained with magnets, clips, or plastic buttons, take care to
clean around each fixture with a soft, bristled brush, soap, and water.

Attaching Your Prosthesis

• If adhesive is used, it should be applied with a cotton tipped swab by evenly
spreading a thin layer of the adhesive along the selected areas of the back side of
your prosthesis according to the anaplastologist's instructions.
• Allow the adhesive to reach its proper reapplication state depending on the type of
adhesive used.
• Using a mirror, carefully position and press your prosthesis onto your skin to
ensure good contact.

Color Changes

• Avoid smoking, as it will stain and yellow the prosthesis.
• Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, which can cause color dissolution and
weakening of the prosthetic material.
• Avoid the use of strong solvents, such as benzene and xylene, which can cause
dissolution and weakening of the prosthetic material.

Storing the Prosthesis

• Store the prosthesis in a dry, inconspicuous but safe place (for example,
a bedside table drawer). Keep it out of the reach of children and animals.
• If you have an orbital prosthesis, store it in an upright position.

Preventing Mishaps

• Avoid extreme temperature changes, which can cause adhesive to fail.
• Carry extra adhesive and prepackaged alcohol soaked cotton balls in a small
plastic bag.
• Avoid placing the prosthesis in purses or pockets close to items such as ink pens
and makeup that could stain it.

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Precision Ocular Prosthetics | 2611 Westwood Dr, Suite A | Nashville, TN 37204-2709 | P: 615-361-0930 | Toll Free: 888-345-0930 | F: 615-467-7507