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.
Steps in Fabricating a Facial Prosthesis
The process of designing and fabricating a facial prosthesis requires multiple office visits which may be lengthy as well as take 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.