Replacing Eyes, Noses, Ears and Fingers
Reported March 2010
DALLAS (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Art is mixing with medicine to help people regain the appearance of a normal life.
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Jane Mason has 20/20 vision in her right eye, but cancer took most of the left side of her face.
"It was in my sinus and the tumor was wrapped around my eye," Mason told Ivanhoe.
Greg Gion, MMS, CCA, a facial anaplastologist at The Medical Art Prosthetics Clinic in Dallas, uses his talent to give people like Mason back what they've lost.
"We're trained as traditional artists and then we're trained as medical artists," Gion said.
An artist since grade school, Gion now uses his talent to make silicone body parts. Today, he's giving Al Bell's ear a touch up.
"The whole process of painting a prosthesis is the most intense art exercise that I can do," Gion said.
Bell lost his right ear six years ago in a car crash.
"I knew we had been in an accident, but I didn't know my ear was missing," Bell recalled.
It took Bell several years to find Gion, and get a new ear.
"We're basically just replicating the mirror image of his other ear," Gion explained.
Anaplastologists take an impression of the unaffected ear, make a cast, scan it into a computer, which produces a three dimensional image of the ear. Then, the image can be reversed to create the opposite ear.
"The information that we can pick up is really accurate, very, very detailed right down to the pores and the wrinkles and the texture of the skin," Gion said.
Bell's new ear is made out of silicone and held in place with magnets that are implanted into his skull.
"In the final analysis, it really boils back down to art," Gion said. "To really make a prosthesis very accurate, life-like and actually usable by the patient, it ends up being all those fine-tuning details of art."
"Sometimes I forget about it," Bell said. "You know you look normal, so everything else is blocked out."
Greg uses the same technique for prosthesis for noses, fingers and hands, replacing body parts and giving people back their confidence.
The prosthesis are removed daily and cleaned by the patients. Many remove them to sleep and shower. They range in cost from $3,000 to $7,000 and are usually covered by insurance.
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Medical Art Prosthetics, LLC
Replacing Eyes, Nose, Ears and Fingers
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