Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

Hands!

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Lately, between seeing patients at the clinic, I’ve been learning a bit about somato prostheses, specifically what goes into taking impressions of hands and fingers and building a prosthesis from there.  I’ve really only been through the impression taking process so far.  We did that with algenate, much like you would an ear or a nose.  Getting an entire hand out is difficult and takes some finagling, but I did it.  I was then able to mix up and pour yellow dental stone into the algenate impression.  Slowly I peeled away the algenate to reveal the stone cast created in the process.  I have to say that all those years of being a picky eater as a child have served me well in my recent years.  Between anatomical dissections, and delicate separations of materials for my anaplastology classes, it’s a fine trick, being able to precisely remove one thing from another.

Once all of the algenate was picked away, we made a few adjustments to the cast to clean it up and make it non-stick, and from this process, I now have my very own replica of my right hand.

Since then I’ve repeated the process for just two fingers, and I now have copies of my first two fingers of each hand, also in stone.  The next step in this bench exercise is to amputate one of the stone fingers (which as it turns out is a little bit scary to think about even though it’s just in stone).  And from there I will learn about the sculpture and silicone creation process of making a finger prosthesis.

From what I’ve read, such prostheses help people hold a pen or pencil, type, play an instrument, any number of things, as well as maintain a more normal appearance.  I look forward to working with these types of patients in the months to come.

Written by Sara

February 10th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

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