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Patient Education

Is assistance available to help cover the cost of a prosthesis?

The cost of the prosthesis will be discussed during your initial visit. The Ontario Ministry of Health's Assistive Device Program covers some of the cost but you may need to find alternative funding for the rest of the costs.

What steps are involved in treatment planning?

The steps will vary depending on whether or not you are a candidate for implants. If implants are required, and you qualify as a candidate, there are usually four stages involved to treatemet including: initial planning for the prosthesis; two surgical procedures and the making and fitting of the prosthesis. When implants are not included, usually one or sometimes both of the surgical procedures are not required.

Does treatment hurt?

Any discomfort involved during any of the treatment is minimal but it will depend on individual pain tolerance.

How long does it take to make a prosthesis?

A facial prosthesis can be thought of in the same way as movie make-up that is used to enhance or change the appearance. A prosthesis is first sculpted and then moulded to custom fit the area, or tissues site. Anatomical landmarks, facial proportion and symmetry are all taken into account to create a convincing, life-like facial feature. Facial prosthesis are most commonly cast out of a silicone rubber that is tinted to match the pigmentation.

Are there any risks involved with the use of silicone?

There are no serious risks associated with the type of silicone used to make facial prosthesis.

How long can I wear the prosthesis?

You can wear the prosthesis the entire day but it should be removed at night to allow the underlying skin to breath. It can be worn during all normal activities including swimming and other sports but you may want to remove it if you participate in more rigorous contact sports.

How do I care for the skin under the prosthesis?

The skin under the prosthesis must be washed daily with soap and water or shampoo. If the prosthesis is implant retained, you may want to use dental floss or the point of a cotton swab around the abutments to aid with cleaning. The area also needs to be dried very thoroughly after cleaning. Caring for the skin is very important. Your healthcare team will discuss whether ongoing assistance with hygiene will be required.

Will I have problems with my prosthesis after it is fitted?

Once it is fitted, and if it is taken care of it properly, most individuals have no problems with their prosthesis. If the prosthesis and the skin around it are not cleaned daily, or the prosthesis gets too dirty to clean, then the skin can become irritated. Occasionally, the screws that hold the retentive bar to the implants, or the clips holding the prosthesis become loose. This is an uncommon occurrence however, if it does happen it is important to have the parts tightened within a few days.

How do I take care of the prosthesis?

The prosthesis should be cleaned regularly by gently brushing it with mild detergent and water. You will be shown how to properly clean it before you leave the Craniofacial Prosthetics Unit (CPU).

How often should I return to the CPU for a new prosthesis?

On average, you will need to get a new prosthesis every two years. Keeping the prosthesis, and the skin around the abutments clean is the most important thing in order to keep the prosthesis from looking worn.

Can the prosthesis be mailed to me?

In order to ensure that it fits well and matches your skin tone, it is imperative that you are present during all stages of the making of the prosthesis.

How can I get more information?

For more information, please feel free to contact the Craniofacial Prosthetics Unit (CPU) at 416.480.4254 or check our resource list.

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Location and Contact

Craniofacial Prosthetics Unit

Odette Cancer Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue, 
T-wing, ground floor, room TG 260
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Judy Gibson
Phone: 416-480-4254
Email: judya.gibson
@sunnybrook.ca