Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How can I obtain a prosthesis?

Prostheses are custom made for the individual. They are not "off the shelf" items. Several appointments are required to create a safe and effective prosthesis that is also realistic in appearance. Please call
206-985-8839 to set up an appointment or consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.

When can a prosthesis be made for me?

Patients need to wait a period of time after surgery or injury for healing to occur before treatment begins. It is preferable that all swelling subsides so that the impression taken as the first step, which determines fit- is accurate. The physician is consulted to determine when the patient is ready for prosthetic treatment.

How long will it take to receive my prosthesis?

Normally, the process requires multiple patient visits that are spread over several weeks. In order for a prosthesis to successfully create the illusion of life and fit correctly and comfortably, all details must be sensitively replicated. This process typically requires 3-5 patient visits. Appointments vary from one to three hours depending on the procedures being performed. For more information see The Process.

Are prostheses covered by my health insurance? How much and when do I have to pay?

Prostheses are considered durable medical equipment and are covered by many medical plans. We do our best to ensure that you receive the maximum coverage when we obtain your pre-authorization. Please note that pre authorization can take anywhere from a few days, to several weeks. We do the insurance billing, and inform you prior to your appointment of any possible out-of-pocket costs. A detailed treatment plan, along with payment schedule information is provided before the start of treatment. For self-pay clients and those with out-of-pocket coinsurance requirements, a down payment is required at the start of treatment. We accept cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and Care Credit.

How long does a prosthesis last?

The lifetime of a prosthesis may vary greatly from patient to patient depending on the kind of device and the manner of retention. Because silicone is a synthetic material, it will eventually deteriorate. A general guideline might be from 2 to 3 years, but there are many variables that can extend or reduce this time. Prostheses can be lost, damaged, or discolored by cigarette smoke and UV light. Subsequent replacements can be made using molds which are kept on file for each patient.

What are the limitations of a prosthesis?

A prosthesis will not blush, tan, grow, or age in conjunction with the patient's surrounding tissue. It must be removed daily in order to be cleaned and to allow the underlying tissue to receive air exposure and also be cleaned. In addition, prostheses need to be replaced periodically (every 1-3 years depending on wear and tear) in order to maintain a lifelike and natural appearance.

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How will my prosthesis stay in place?

A facial prosthesis can be retained by adhesives or by bone-anchored implants. Adhesives are a well established and common way to attach a prosthesis that serve many patients reliably. However, adhesives can become less reliable during extreme temperatures and do require careful daily cleaning. Implant-retained devices offer excellent retention and longer prosthesis life, but require outpatient surgery and greater cost. Finger prosthetics are generally held on by creation of negative pressure over the end of the residual finger. Breast prostheses may be created with a sticky back but require a normal (not mastectomy) bra for stability. Prostheses are removed daily, they are not permanently attached to the site.

What care is required for my prosthesis?

Your prosthesis requires daily care and simple maintenance. Prostheses are removed daily, and the skin, prosthesis, and any osseointegrated implant abutments are cleaned. If required, adhesive is applied and removed on a regular basis.

What is a Clinical Anaplastologist?

A clinical anaplastologist is a health care professional that provides custom-designed, fabricated and fitted extraoral aesthetic prostheses or other medical devices that are non-weight bearing, as specified in the BCCA scope of practice. This is based on a physician’s referral and clinical assessment, to support, modify, replace, protect or restore an anatomical structure.

Anaplastologists work with other members of a rehabilitative health care team in either multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary environments to help to return patients to a normal daily life by creating life-like prosthesis that help normalize the appearance of lost, missing, or damaged soft tissue. Competent analytical, clinical and technical skills are required to perform safe and effective patient care.

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