A Contemporary Review of the Role of Facial Prostheses in Complex Facial Reconstruction

Allison A. Slijepcevic, Azadeh Afshari, Ann E. Vitale, Steven M. Couch, Latoya M. Jeanpierre, John J. Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Maxillofacial prostheses provide effective rehabilitation of complex facial defects as alternatives to surgical reconstruction. Although facial prostheses provide aesthetically pleasing reconstructions, multiple barriers exist that prevent their routine clinical use. The accessibility of facial prostheses is limited by the scarce supply of maxillofacial prosthodontists, significant time commitment and number of clinic appointments required of patients during prosthesis fabrication, short lifespan of prostheses, and limited outcomes data. Methods: A literature review was completed using PubMed and Embase databases, with search phrases including face and maxillofacial prostheses. Patient cases are included to illustrate the use of facial prostheses to reconstruct complex facial defects. Results: The clinical use of facial prostheses requires a multidisciplinary team including a reconstructive surgeon, a maxillofacial prosthodontist, and an anaplastologist, if available, to provide patients with aesthetically appropriate facial prostheses. Developing technology including computer-aided design and three-dimensional printing may improve the availability of facial prostheses by eliminating multiple steps during prosthesis fabrication, ultimately decreasing the time required to fabricate a prosthesis. In addition, enhanced materials may improve prosthesis durability. Long-term outcomes data using validated measures is needed to support the continued use of facial prostheses. Conclusions: Facial prostheses can be used to reconstruct complex facial defects, and bone-anchored prostheses are associated with high patient satisfaction. Multiple barriers prevent prostheses from being used for facial reconstruction. New technologies to assist the design and fabrication of prostheses, and cost reduction measures, may allow their use in the appropriately selected patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288E-298E
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


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