Every piece Aesthetic Prosthetics creates is unique, and the process to fabricate a prosthesis accordingly varies a great deal from case to case. Generally, a prosthesis takes three to five visits. In all cases, first there is an evaluation appointment, during which Aesthetic Prosthetics will evaluate qualities such as the range of motion the client has, and whether he or she has worn a prosthesis before. Fundamentally, the client has to articulate what he or she expects from a prosthesis.
After some discussion with the client about their needs, the second visit will be arranged to take an impression of both the sound side and the affected side, similar to a larger-scale version of what a dentist does to cast a crown. Information will also be gathered for a good color match.
Before the third appointment, Aesthetic Prosthetics will create a unique “sculpture” for the client to see and critique. The sculpture’s form is based on the casts from the client, but also in part on a model – casts from volunteers that Aesthetic Prosthetics has created over the years to form a “library” of possible shapes. In the case of hands, the company has a library of hundreds of examples; the library shape, however, is modified significantly to match the details of the client’s anatomy. The sculpture is white and intended to capture essential shape and surface detail.
Once the client approves the sculpture, Aesthetic Prosthetics returns to the lab and produces a silicone rubber prosthesis that is an exact match in form to the sculpture. Then the client returns for a painting session, which is much like sitting for a portrait. Carefully, with a brush (or airbrush) the staff will go over every square centimeter of the piece to make it a clean match. The match has to take into account the dynamic nature of skin color. For example, if you hold one hand above your head and hang the other straight down for a moment, when you bring both hands back to chest level, the hand that had been above your head is far lighter than the one below. When a client is present it is possible to match hand color at “conversational level” (about chest-high) where the hands are typically most visible. Finally, the prosthesis color has be well-protected so that over time it does not abrade away in daily life. Proprietary Aesthetic Prosthetics techniques make certain that this is the case.
After the painting session, Aesthetic Prosthetics does finishing work on the piece (which at this point is really an original artwork) and it is delivered with any final adjustments in a fifth visit. Since all work is done on the premises (much of it with the client present) the team can achieve a high level of detail and customization. Aesthetic Prosthetics puts a very high premium on their clients exercising control over all the stages. To do so, they have to work in a systematic way in which clients approve individual elements, and as the elements are added one upon the other clients have a great deal of input into whether they like what they see. That way, on delivery day there are no surprises.