How is a prosthesis made?


In general, facial and somato prostheses are created by re-producing the absent three-dimensional form by one or a combination of methods, such as traditional sculpting, virtual sculpting, computer-aided design, or generating a 3D "printed" rapid prototype. Careful observation is used to reproduce accurate anatomical form and surface textures. The anaplastologist also employs color matching techniques to mimic those found in the patient's skin. The resulting silicone prosthesis appears life-like to blend with the patient's tissue surface and restore the absent or disfigured anatomy.


How is a prosthesis retained?


Facial and somato prostheses are not permanently attached to the patient.  Prostheses may be retained using medical-grade adhesives (glues), or by attaching to "bone-anchored" implants. (Bone-anchored implants are  small titanium screws fixed within bone.) Implant-retained prostheses use clips or magnets disguised within the prosthesis to provide reliable placement and retention. Retention method chosen by the patient.


The Art + Science of Anaplastology


Anaplastology is a term that refers to the practice of prosthetic restoration of facial or somatic (body) anatomy for patients who have suffered disfigurement due to cancer, trauma, or congenital origin. Prosthetic rehabilitation serves as an alternative treatment option when surgical reconstruction is unachievable or undesired by the patient.


The term Anaplastology was conceived by Walter G. Spohn, who served as Chief of the Plastic Eye and Restorations Clinic at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in San Francisco from 1948 until his retirement in 1971. In 1980, Mr. Spohn founded the American Anaplastology Association (now the International Anaplastology Association) at Stanford University, with the mission to develop and foster a network of multidisciplinary professionals coordinating their efforts in service of the patient.


An anaplastologist* is an individual who designs and creates a custom-made facial (craniofacial) or somato prosthesis. Throughout its evolution, the field of anaplastology has valued collaboration among the anaplastologist and several specialists, including dentists who specialize in maxillofacial prosthetics (prosthodontists), dental technicians, ocularists, and reconstructive surgeons.

*One who practices anaplastology outside of the U.S. may use a title different from anaplastologist, such as maxillofacial prosthetists and technician, MPT (UK).

Research + Education


Anaplastology draws on the knowledge derived from exploration across a variety of specialities, including clinical research, commercial and biomaterials research, engineering, color science, imaging technology, digital application development, art and design.


Devotion to research has allowed the field to integrate traditional artistic methods with evolving digital technologies, inspiring innovative techniques in 3D visualization and model production. Applying these advances in clinical practice allows the anaplastologist to diversify and refine treatment protocols to better meet the needs of the patient.


This committment to research also involves evaluating accuracy and reliability of proposed techniques, clinical practicality, outcomes and patient satisfaction.


The Walter Spohn Education Fund exists to provide financial support through grants and scholarships to individuals initiating educational and research projects to advance the field of Anaplastology.


Education in anaplastology may involve training in an advanced degree programs, apprenticeships, professional conference attendance, and continued education through participation in worshops and specialized training courses.

IAA 28th Annual Conference - Denver, CO

May 28-31