Caring for Implants for Facial Prostheses

After Phase I Surgery

  • A pressure dressing will be placed over the area of surgery. Do not disturb this dressing or attempt to remove it.
  • For the first three to four days, elevate your head while you sleep. To achieve this, an extra pillow should be placed under your head.
  • Do not wash or contaminate the surgical area for two to four weeks.
  • Do not attempt to wear any old prosthesis. (You must get your surgeon’s permission before you can wear any prosthesis.)
  • Follow the instructions provided by your surgeon with regard to when to return for dressing and suture removal.

After Phase II Surgery

  • Important for Healing (after the abutments have been connected through the skin at the second stage of surgery)
  • Do not attempt to remove or disturb the dressing. This dressing is placing pressure on the tissues. Your surgeon will arrange when the dressing needs to be changed.
  • When sleeping, use an additional pillow to elevate the head.
  • Once the dressing has been removed, home care procedures will be reviewed with you.
  • Apply topical antibiotic ointment as directed by your surgeon.
  • After two to three weeks, you will review the hygiene procedures.

Care of Your Prosthesis -  Skin Care

  • It is important to check the skin surrounding the prosthesis on a daily basis and report any irritations or unusual findings.
  • The skin underlying the prosthesis must be cleaned every day, preferably at bedtime.
  • Follow the instructions given to clean the skin around the abutments.
  • If you have had radiation treatment, be especially careful about skin care.

Care of Your Prosthesis  - Application

  • It may be helpful to apply the prosthesis in front of a mirror to ensure correct placement.
  • Position the prosthesis and firmly press it onto the clips or magnets. Check to make sure the prosthesis is secure by gently tugging it.
  • Skin may be trapped during the seating process.
  • Gently pull the skin away from the prosthesis margins to ensure that any trapped skin is released.

Care of the Prosthesis - Removal

  • Usually, it is best to remove the prosthesis before going to sleep. You will, however, be the best judge of the need for this.
  • Gently grasp an edge of the prosthesis. Slowly work your fingers into a position where you have adequate hold of the prosthesis.
  • Do not pull on the thin margins, as they will tear. It is best to lift the prosthesis by levering on the hard plastic section under the prosthesis (if there is one). Pulling on the silicone may cause the silicone to de-bond from the hard plastic section.
  • Slowly work the prosthesis free from the clips or magnets. Try to find the easiest path of removal.
  • If you have an ear prosthesis, the use of a protective cover at night is advised. The abutment or bars may rub on the pillow and this may disturb sleep. The protective cover will prevent crusting from forming around the abutments.

Care of Your Prosthesis – Care of the Surgical Cavity

  • Clean any facial defects using a solution of 1 cup of warm water and a half a teaspoon of salt.
  • Squirt the solution onto the defect using a rubber-tipped syringe. Allow the excess solution to run out.
  • A humidifier at night may help prevent excess crusting.

Care of Your Prosthesis – Cleaning

  • Gently wash the prosthesis daily with the same soap you use on your skin around the abutments.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water. Never use hot or boiling water.

Care of Your Prosthesis – Cleaning the Abutments

  • Maintaining hygiene around the abutments, bars, magnets or other attachment system is absolutely vital to the long-term success of your prosthesis. You must follow the daily routine provided for you so that not even a single day of skin care is missed.

Care of Your Prosthesis - Storage

  • Store in a dry, clean container and keep in an inconspicuous but safe place (ex, a beside table drawer). Keep it out of reach of children and animals.

Preventing Mishaps

  • Adapting to wearing prosthesis requires some understanding and common sense. There will be the occasional incident where the prosthesis may come loose, take note of these situations and know how to deal with them. Typical examples might be when playing with young children who might grab hold of you and dislodge the prosthesis. Another example, in the case of an ear prosthesis, is placing a hat on your head. Remove the prosthesis and use a protector cap before activities that would dislodge it such as participating in physically demanding activities such as contact sports, water skiing and diving into water. These problems simply require some adjustments.

Remaking the Prosthesis

  • Prostheses last approximately two to three years.
  • When the prosthesis begins to change color or there is a change in fit, make an appointment for the assessment of the problem.
  • Do not wait until the prosthesis has failed before attempting to make an appointment, as there may be wait until the prosthesis can be replaced. At times, it will be possible to preserve the mold when soft silicone prostheses have been made. In such cases, the prosthesis can be remade from the mold.
  • The objective of treatment is to provide a long-term result. This can only be achieved if you take adequate care of the soft tissues, the abutments, the superstructure, and the prosthesis; meticulous daily care is essential for long-term success.

Follow-Up

  • It is crucial for you to return for your follow-up visits. Be sure of the dates of your follow-up visits.
  • If, for any reason, you move, ensure that the clinic is informed so that contact is never lost and alternative arrangements for your follow-up can be arranged.
  • If you have any further questions or problems, call this office and we will advise you over the phone, or decide if a visit is needed to resolve the problem.