Adhesive retention is a common method for attaching a facial prosthesis to the human skin. The process of applying adhesives and attaching it to the skin can be cumbersome to some patients due to the drying time required and difficulties of aligning the prosthesis in the correct position. The adhesive retained prosthesis must be removed and cleaned daily, a process that is time consuming and requires a great amount of patient compliance to manage. Adhesives can lose their strength in warm environments when the skin perspires, and the prosthesis easily separates from the face in areas of greater facial movements.

In this multidisciplinary collaboration between PAL, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis, we aim to develop a unique and innovative solution that solves all the above problems with adhesive-retained prosthesis by surface engineering the silicone on a micro scale. This is based on the principle that the strength of the adhesive bond between two surfaces is directly proportional to their physical contact area, similar to the manner of which the physical structure of a gekko's feet on the micro scale allows the gekko to climb vertical walls. Our goal is to create this structure using the same medical grade silicone materials that anaplastologists currently use, giving the materials adhesive properties and allowing it to stick to the patients' skin without using additional adhesives.

Mircea Teodorescue, University of California, Santa Cruz
Nick Cramer, University of California, Santa Cruz
Travis Tollefson, University of California, Davis


  • Create a self-adhesive surface using materials commonly used for silicone prostheses
  • Ability for the anaplastologist to fabricate this surface for any custom shapes
  • The surface must remain on the patient's skin in hot and humid environments
  • The surface should move and stretch with facial movements but also allow easy daily removal for cleaning

By fulfilling the above goals, we can extend the life of the prosthesis and increase patient compliance with adhesive-retained prostheses, thus improving the patient's overall quality of life.