Methods of Retention 

A prosthesis needs to be held in place securely, this needs to be in a way that you have confidence in and is easy to use.

Glasses

This is where your facial prosthesis is attached to your glasses frames. Although a simple method it can work well for nasal and orbital prostheses. This method suits less active people, and allows the prosthesis to be applied quickly at home. It is also a good option for a temporary prosthesis whilst waiting for healing. 

The downside of glasses retained prostheses is that if you wear spectacles for reading and stance that you may need variable or bi focal lenses so you don't need to keep removing the prosthesis. Depending on the size and location of the defect, glasses may slip, so a sport band can be used on the glasses arms to hold everything into place. 

Adhesive 

There are a wide variety of skin based adhesives on the market that can be applied sparingly to the back of the prosthesis and hold it in place all day or in some cases for days. Adhesives work well for all types of prosthesis and have the advantage that the edges of the prosthetic move with the facial movements. 

Adhesives require degree of dexterity to apply and practice is needed to position the prosthesis in the right place first time. The glue must be removed from the skin and the prosthesis each time it is removed. There are solvents to help with this but it does mean that adhesives prosthesis do not last as long due to the edges becoming worn and discoloured. 

Implants

This method relies on small, screw-like titanium implants being surgically placed in the bone, very much like dental implants. The implants have a second-part, the 'abutment' that screws into the implant and emerges through the skin.  The abutment can be used for the attachment of magnet or clip retention systems to hold facial prostheses. This is the most secure and reliable method of holding on a prosthesis. It does however require surgery and also careful maintenance of the skin around the abutment daily to prevent infection. 

Vacuum 

This method applies to nipple/areola and finger prosthetics. Vacuum retention works by making the edges of the prosthesis very thin and also creating a tight fit so that when the prosthesis is positioned a small vacuum is created against the skin and this is sufficient to holding it in place. This is not possible for all prosthetics but can work very well.

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