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Hollywood-style special effects give girl new ear
Question of the Day
Over the next few months, bone cells called osteoblasts will fuse with the titanium to anchor those rods, he told her.
“If you wiggle it while it’s healing, that prevents those osteoblasts from growing in,” Kaylie cautions. “They really have to keep their hands off.”
Back at The Anaplastology Clinic, McClennen was sculpting the ear that eventually would hook onto those rods with a mere three clicks. Elise’s has a bar on the back to snap it on; noses especially are starting to be made with magnets for attachment.
Coloring brings out the true art. In the 1990s, as part of a team working on movies like “Nixon” and “Legends of the Fall,” McClennen learned to impregnate colorless silicone with a mix of colors so the finished prosthetic required only thin glazing and not heavy paint. Harder acrylic threaded through the rubbery silicone like cartilage holds the retention bar and, with a technique gleaned at a cancer center in Toronto, McClennen used the right color to mimic that red glow when sunlight shines behind the ear.
Blending where the edges meet real skin is crucial, as is managing expectations, Schoendorf says: “As good as it is, it’s not perfect.”
The day before Thanksgiving, Elise’s new ear is ready to attach, complete with earring hole. She practices clicking it on, surprised that it’s easy, and smiles into the mirror, hair tucked back.
“This one looks fantastic,” she later proclaims.
EDITOR’s NOTE _ Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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