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Six-year old boy to smile again after receiving artificial facial prosthetic reconstruction

Six-year old boy to smile again after receiving artificial facial prosthetic reconstruction

The Durban University of Technology’s Department of Dental Technology will embark on a reconstructive project to create a prosthetic nose for a six-year old boy from Bethlehem in the Free State.

A Media Conference will be held after the prosthesis is manufactured, at 11am on Thursday 18 November at the Department of Dental Technology’s Boardroom on Ritson Campus at DUT. Due to the sensitivity of the case, photographers are advised to take creative pictures that will not reveal the identity of the child.

The project focuses on creating an artificial prosthesis which provides aesthetic improvement to patients who have lost features from the head and neck due to accidents, health conditions, crime and genetic defects. The reconstructive project was launched 20 years ago by Dental Technology Lecturer and maxillofacial prosthesis specialist, Peter Furber and former colleague Neil Waddell.

A maxillofacial prosthesis will be manufactured for the child who lost part of his nasal septum and the base of his nose. The accident resulted shortly after he was born when he was burnt by the C-PAP tube supplying oxygen to his lungs.

Peter Furber said: “The prosthetic will take three days to manufacture and will improve aesthetic appearance. An impression of the lower face will be taken, thereafter a wax nose will be created. A cast will be created from the wax nose, which will be used to manufacture a silicone prosthesis. The end product will be tinted and shaded in an attempt to reproduce the patients’ skin tone.

The prosthesis is fixed onto the face using specialised adhesive. The prosthesis manufacturing cost is in excess of R10 000, however the family has only been charged R200 which will go towards the purchase of the adhesive. The prosthesis has to be removed and cleaned on a daily basis.

He said the benefits of the prosthesis is purely aesthetic, however it posses challenges amongst children as their skin is smooth and unblemished, making the prosthesis noticeable. The prosthesis has a life span of two years. This is also dependent on sun exposure which affects the materials used in the manufacturing process which results in the change in colour, the patient will also outgrow the prosthesis which will then be replaced until a decision is made to have corrective surgery.

Furber said: “As a University of Technology and centre for excellence, we strive to provide a unique service to the surrounding community, neighbouring provinces and the Southern African Development Community. The project forms part of the Department of Dental Technology’s community service initiative and aims to serve people from indigent backgrounds. We are one of the few facilities available in the country that create prosthesis for aesthetic improvements.”

Annually an average of four projects is carried out. Recent cases include creating artificial eyes for an acid burn victim and a patient who had both his eyes gouged out in a brutal mugging. A cancer patient from Lesotho also received an artificial nose. All patients are referred from state hospitals, NGOs, the Smile Foundation, specialised burn units and orphanages.

To confirm your attendance at the media conference, please RSVP to bhekanid@dut.ac.za or call 031 373 2845.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Peter Furber
Dental Technology Lecturer and specialist
Mobile: 082 6544553
Tel: 031 373 2031
E-mail: peterf@dut.ac.za Grant Somers
HOD: Dental Technology
Tel: 031 373 2851
Mobile: 084 670 8426

Ms Lititia Jordaan
Coordinator: Smile Foundation in the Free State
Mobile: 084 514 3329

Riaan Terblanche
Father of six year old boy
Mobile: 083 314 8751