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Saving Face

The making of the mask

August 2002

Selena at the laser scanning device

Selena Gallegos sits in front of a simple laser-scanning device. In less than five minutes, the machine sends the precise measurements of her face to a personal computer.

The computer is equipped with FaceScan© software. The technology produces a 3-dimensional replica of Selena. Technicians can now alter the dimensions to aggressively treat specific areas of her scarring.

The computer then sends the dimensions to a milling machine. The machine carves an exact image of Selena out of a foam core.

Prosthetic technician Jesse Rettele heats a sheet of plastic and lays it over the foam core. A powerful vacuum wraps the plastic around the mold. "The masks come out much smoother with the foam core than with the plaster casts," Rettele said. "If you have one small imperfection in the cast, it shows up in the plastic."

Technicians wrap plastic around a foam core
Technicians fit Selena with a mask

Tom Darm, an instructor in the department of rehabilitation medicine, fits Selena with her new mask as Selena’s mother, Martha Munoz, looks on. Patients typically wear the masks 23 hours a day for approximately one year.



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