Facial Life Masks
Facial life masks were created to express the 3 dimensionality of the human face. Facial landmarks and surface topography not unlike rolling hills appear to reach out to the observer. The beauty of the human face unfolds itself in ways that one cannot appreciate from photographic portraits, which by definition are two dimensional.
Dr. Stanley Jacobs, creator of Life Masks®, mixes the plaster with which he forms every unique piece.
The ability to touch these immortalized faces adds a new perspective. From a surgeons view, these masks have multiple uses. By being able to touch them, the patient, the surgeon, or any other person can study the changes that occur with facial surgery.
As a teaching tool, surgical residents can access a mask “library” by pulling a mask from a shelf appropriate to his or her upcoming surgery. If a rhinoplasty is to be performed the next day, a suitable rhinoplasty mask can be studied. Several rhinoplasty masks could be available, perhaps a Hispanic female who presented with a large dorsal convexity and had a hump reduction with osteotomies. The transition mask (intraoperative) would demonstrate the open sky defect created after hump removal but before the osteotomies closed this. Masks will bring the junior surgeon into the operation before he/she ever actually steps foot into the theater. Textbooks of course will still be studied, but adding a suitable mask that the resident can touch , I believe offers a more realistic experience which will ultimately allow for a superior surgical outcome.
As an artform, Dr. Jacobs’ LifeMasks® are breath-takingly unique and engaging.
Similar to a traditional library, archiving of different faces will allow more and more depth to surgical training. If one wants to study a chin implantation of varying degrees and assess how the lips appear fuller and facial balance is achieved, simply pulling out the different masks allows this. Studying the face from the skyline view with and without cheek implants and running one’s fingers over the plaster malar prominences is another example.
Orbital recontouring, facelifts, midface lifts, neck lifts and orthognathic surgery are all amenable to the patented before, during, and postoperative facial masks.
As a surgeon’s tool, Life Masks are equally powerful and functional.
Certainly trauma cases can benefit from masking. Allowing patients to not only see pictures of themselves but to hold their traumatized faces in their own hands once they are healed, can be a worthwhile endeavor from many aspects. These patients may be able to understand more clearly what their surgeon had to do in order to make them look acceptable or even better than they could have imagined under the circumstances. Their psychological recovery may be speedier.
There may also be legal benefits of masking. Three dimensional permanent representations of faces that have undergone surgical alteration may assist the physician in showing what kind of useful work he/she has done. It will also help the patient appreciate the changes.
There will also be surgeons who simply want to document their work and as I have already witnessed, patients who desire copies of their masks to cherish at home.