Prosthetic Support in Face Transplantation
After face transplantation, the patient may still present with defects which were not corrected or correctable through surgery. This may include loss of teeth and bone, malocclusion and arch size discrepancies, communication between the oral and nasal cavities and sinuses, difficulties with speech and swallowing, palatopharyngeal incompetence, palatopharyngeal insufficiency, functional or anatomic deficits of the tongue, narrowing of the nostrils, and loss of anatomical structures such as eyes, ears, or nose. To correct these defects and improve function and esthetics, a variety of prostheses and appliances are available. These are fabricated by dentists who specialize in Prosthodontics and sub-specialize in Maxillofacial Prosthetics. Although the face transplant patient will present clinicians with new challenges, established techniques and sound prosthodontic and prosthetic principles will provide the foundation for the delivery of prosthetic support and treatment of this patient population. For optimal results, the Maxillofacial Prosthodontist should be a member of the transplant team and consulted during the pre-surgical, surgical, and post-surgical phases of face transplantation.