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Our face is the means through which we connect with the world. The forehead, eyes, nose, ears, lips, cheek, jaws, teeth, and chin exist in close harmony with each other. We express our feelings about our emotions by the movement of various muscles of the face. Routine but highly important daily functions like chewing, eating, drinking, speaking, and swallowing, are carried out, without even our awareness, by the close coordination of several facial structures.

 

A person may lose a part of their face due to several reasons. Some parts of the face may be missing at birth or remain underdeveloped during growth, e.g., the ears (microsomia), eyes (microphthalmia), and cleft lip & palate. Trauma to the face due to accidents, gunshot wounds, knife attacks, and burn injuries is another unfortunate reason for facial loss. Head and neck cancer is the 7th most reported cancer globally and will often require surgical removal of the affected organ. Depending on the location and extent of the tumour, a patient may lose structures within the mouth (the upper jaw, lower jaw, tongue, palate, teeth), the neck (pharynx, larynx), and/or the external face (nose, cheek, eyes, orbits, ears).


Loss of a part of the face or for that matter any part of the body is an extremely traumatic event and is specific in experience to the individual. Rehabilitation is to be considered from 3 aspects with equal importance – function, appearance, and mental health. Several clinicians are involved in the successful rehabilitation of patients as part of a multidisciplinary team (MDT). These include the oncosurgeon, plastic surgeon, oral & maxillofacial surgeon, ENT surgeon, ophthalmic surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon, pediatric surgeon, oncologist, pathologist, radiologist, psychologist, dentist, maxillofacial prosthodontist, maxillofacial prosthetist or anaplastologist, dental technician, speech and language therapist, nutritionist, physiotherapist, nursing staff, and social worker.

Where possible and feasible, surgical reconstruction of the lost tissues may be offered to the patient as a treatment option. The success of such reconstruction depends on several factors such as the extent of tissue loss, blood supply to the region, available bone volume, donor site status, and impact of radiotherapy.

When surgery is no longer an option, a prosthesis should be considered to improve the patient’s quality of life. A medical prosthesis is an artificial device designed to restore form, function, and appearance and made from usually a combination of biocompatible materials, e.g., titanium craniofacial implants, silicone facial prostheses, and PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate) denture bases. A few examples of such facial, dental, and digit prostheses given to patients by our prosthetic treatment facility in Pune are shown below.

State-of-the-Art

Dental & Prosthetic

Treatment Facility at Pune

DEFINITIVE OBTURATOR (AFTER PARTIAL MAXILLECTOMY)

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AURICULAR PROSTHESIS (MEDICAL-GRADE SILICONE, ADHESIVE RETAINED)

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GUIDANCE PROSTHESIS (AFTER SEGMENTAL MANDIBULECTOMY)

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OCULAR PROSTHESIS (IRIS PAINTED; CUSTOM MADE)

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FINGER PROSTHESIS (MEDICAL-GRADE SILICONE, STUMP RETAINED)

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OCCLUSION IN DEVIATED POSITION (AFTER SEGMENTAL MANDIBULECTOMY)

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CHEEK PROSTHESIS (MEDICAL-GRADE SILICONE, ADHESIVE RETAINED)

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DEFINITIVE OBTURATOR (AFTER PARTIAL MAXILLECTOMY)

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AURICULAR PROSTHESIS (MEDICAL-GRADE SILICONE, ADHESIVE RETAINED)

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HAND PROSTHESIS (MEDICAL-GRADE SILICONE, VACUUM RETAINED)

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