A prosthesis is a substitute for a missing part of the body. Prostheses have been made of many materials, including celluloid, metal, vulcanite, gelatin and latex. Improvement in the construction of these devices keeps pace with the progress of plastic surgery. Thus patients today regain a passable appearance much sooner after they suffer their deformity than have those in the past. For deformities caused by war injuries and the loss of parts resulting from malignant disease prostheses have a special place. Time-consuming plastic operations may be deferred and planned while the patient wears the temporary restoration.
The indications for the use of such a cosmetic device are: (1) interim treatment, especially in cases of malignant disease; (2) inadvisability of surgical treatment because of coexistent disease; (3) likelihood of recurrence; (4) debility of the patient, and (5) probability that the cosmetic result of operation will be poor.
The ideal prosthesis should