Customized prosthetic rehabilitation serves as an alternative treatment option when surgical reconstruction is unachievable or undesired by the patient. Anaplastology services typically include custom facial, breast, and partial hand and foot prostheses. Practicing clinical anaplastologists may sometimes specialize in creating prostheses for a specific region of the body, such as craniofacial.
The practice of anaplastology draws on advanced scientific data derived from research and best practices in biomedical sciences, dentistry, oncology, reconstructive surgery, materials science and engineering, applications of 3D modeling and prototype manufacturing, as well as artistic application of color theory, painting, sculpting, mold fabrication.
Facial Prostheses are not permanently attached to the patient. Prostheses may be retained using medical-grade adhesives (glues), or by attaching to “bone-anchored” (osseointegrated) implants. (Bone-anchored implants are small titanium screws fixed within bone.) Implant-retained prostheses use clips or magnets disguised within the prosthesis to provide reliable placement and retention.
Obturators can also aide in the retention of an extraoral prosthesis. A maxillectomy/ palatectomy prosthesis or “obturator” restores a surgical defect and aids in the function of speaking, chewing, or swallowing. It fills the void left by the surgery and replaces lost soft tissues, bone and teeth. Magnets can be embedded within the obturator and correspond to magnets integrated into the extraoral prosthesis. This precise design and fabrication can allow patients to have a stable fit without the use of adhesives.
A facial prosthesis that is thoughtfully designed and fabricated to fit the patient’s needs can last several years. Lifestyle and environmental factors play a large part of how long the silicone device will last. Weight change and surgical procedures at the site can render a prosthesis ill-fitting. Often the color of the prosthesis can be adjusted through a “re-tinting” process. Talk to your anaplastologist for options on refurbishing the device for extending the useful life of a prosthesis.
Allison Vest is a classically trained artist who applies her color and design skills to medical devices. She received her Masters of Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Biomedical Visualization. This unique program combines art with medical and material sciences to create a uniquely trained professional. Allison received clinical training at the University of Florida’s dental school and the Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Wales, UK. These diverse experiences transfer to the unique level of care that Allison provides to her patient base. Allison has worked in her Dallas, Texas-based private practice since 2005. As the current owner of this highly specialized practice clinic, she takes extreme pride in the level of care and personalized dedication each and every patient receives. Advocating for patient access to anaplastology was Allison’s priority while serving on the Board for Certification in Clinical Anaplastology from 2012 to 2019.