The Facial Prosthetics service designs, fabricates, fits and maintains camouflage facial prosthetics for patients with disfiguring facial deformities as a result of surgery arising from cancers, congenital deformities and accidents and trauma.

Facial Prosthetics is involved in creating eyes, ears, and noses, fingers, toes, breasts, and other prostheses.

Other services provided include:

  • The design and manufacture of specialised dental prosthetics for patients with compromised oral anatomy
  • Orthognathic dental splints
  • Splints for facial fractures

More specialised work includes:

  • Making appliances such as Cranioplasty plates
  • Custom tracheostomy tubes
  • Patterns for use in bone and tissue grafting procedures
  • Various surgical dilators
  • Gold eyelid weights
  • Construction of medical teaching models such as skulls, knee joints and other demonstration models

Our Facial Prosthetics Service conducts research into newer materials for the fabrication and refinement of prosthetics. This later work, where attention to fine detail can make for a more life like prosthesis, includes the use of improved fingernails, hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. This attention to detail requires a great deal of accurate modelling and colouring.

The RMH Facial Prosthetics Service is actively engaged in training local and overseas prosthetic technicians. Talks and lectures can be given to interested groups.

Why does it take so long?

Designing and fitting a prosthetic device to a patient is a time consuming and labour intensive art and is done in conjunction with the patient. Effort must be taken to match the eye, skin and hair colour and texture of the artificial parts to each individual patient. On average an eye prosthesis requires 8 to 10 visits by a patient to the facial prosthetist before a device is finished. Prosthetic ears and noses usually require between 5 to 8 visits.

The Facial Prosthetics Department at The Royal Melbourne Hospital has approximately 500 patient visits per year. Some of this work is in readjustments to fit and colour, repairs and other modifications to existing prostheses. Each year this department manufactures approximately 35 eyes, 40 ears, 25 noses and fingers and 20 other miscellaneous prosthetics as well as numerous other associated appliances.

Special referral instructions

Referrals from doctors from other hospitals, public or private, Specialist Medical Practitioners and General Practitioners, as well as Allied Health professionals are accepted, initially by phone and then in writing.

Referrals from Royal Melbourne Hospital wards, clinics and Allied Health are accepted by phone or in writing.