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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
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Advances in health and medicine.
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General Health Channel
Reported August 1, 2014

Just Like the Real Thing: A New Ear for Henry

CHICAGO (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Borrowing from special effects techniques used in the movies, facial prosthetics are now virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

Henry Fiorentini lost his ear to cancer, but you’d never know it by looking at him. Whether playing hockey or flying high, he lives an active lifestyle, but a few years ago a very common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, almost took his life.

The cancer started on his right ear. Fiorentini lost his hearing and his ear. Despite multiple surgeries, the cancer remained, along with a mass of scar tissue.

“It’s like, wow, there it is on a direct path to your brain. Good bye life. It’s kind of scary to say the least. No one else in the country really wanted to do this surgery.” Fiorentini told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Sam Marzo of the Loyola University Health System in Chicago says Henry risked paralysis if his facial nerve was cut, but Marzo successfully removed the cancer, and with advances in prosthetics you’d never know what Fiorentini had been through.

“If you think about the special effects industry in movies, those kind of materials are now available for patients.” Marzo told Ivanhoe.

Easily removable, Fiorentini’s ear is made of silicone. From birthmarks to blood vessels, his ear looks just like the other.

“Let me tell you, nobody can tell that this is a false ear.” He said.

The silicone prosthetic ears last from three to five years. Dr. Marzo says 3D printers and scanners are on the horizon to quickly create an exact mirror image prosthetic when the ears need to be replaced. MORE.

More Information                                                                                                     

Click here for additional research oJust Like the Real Thing: A New Ear for Henry.

Click here for Ivanhoe's full-length interview with Dr. Sam Marzo

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone

you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert

Thomas, mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

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