Work. It takes up such a majority of our life. Why we decide our majors and essentially our careers at such a young age I am not sure. How I wish I had given more thought into my major or had more life experience before doing so.
This is what has made me interested in hearing about people who love their jobs! I love hearing stories of people in a position that make a positive impact on the world and how they got there. I had so much fun reading the submittals for ‘Why I love my job’ and am excited to share Megan’s story with you.
Megan is an anaplastologist. Clinical anaplastology is a branch of medicine dedicated to the art and science of restoring a malformed or absent part of the human body through artificial means. Therefore, Megan makes custom silicone prosthetics for patients missing anatomy due to things like illness (often of cancer), traumatic injury or birth defects.
Megan was an art major and unsure what she wanted to do with this degree. She eventually went to University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)’s medical illustration graduate program. Medical illustrators go on to do things like producing illustrations for medical textbooks and 3d models and animations for helping patients and health professionals better understand medicine. Her first exposure to her future career was when she had to take a required anaplastology class where she learned about sculpting and mold making. Her and her classmates would take impressions of each other’s anatomy and then sculpt the mirror image. An example of this would be taking an impression of the left ear, followed by sculpting the right.
What makes this job so rewarding for Megan is that because she does the whole process (consultation to delivery) she gets to really know her patients and see what an impact the prosthesis makes to their life. To quote Megan, “All of our patients are amazing. They have all gone through different things such as burn injuries or cancer diagnosis. They have no other choice but to carry on. But they do have a choice on how they carry on and they all chose to do so with a good attitude.”
Megan works at Medical Art Resources in Milwaukee, WI. She hopes to spread awareness of anaplastology so that people know it is an option. She also wants people to know that quality can vary from place to place so patients should try to find a Certified Clinical Anaplastologist who will provide good care. Lastly, Megan hopes for anaplastology institutions to spread. Medical Art Resources gets calls from people all around the world and many times they have no one close enough to their homes to refer them.
Now I want to share some photos of Megan’s amazing work with you:
Pink wax sculpture of an orbital prosthesis in place on the patient cast. Orbitals are made for patients who are missing the eyeball and eyelids.
Application of external coloring to a silicone orbital prosthesis. Colors are mixed directly into the silicone (about 7 colors per person) along with additional paint detail onto the surface of the prosthesis.
The painting of a pigmented silicone into the mold for an ear prosthesis.
A silicone ear prosthesis that attaches with magnets to bone-anchored implants that have been surgically placed on the patient, who was born without his right ear.
Megan sculpting with a patient. She works with the patient to get the sculpture in just the right place to restore symmetry and to achieve a good fit.
I greatly enjoyed speaking with Megan and hope you all find the work that she does just as awesome as I do. For more information check out www.medicalartresources.com and their Instagram page @everydetailmatters. You can also learn more by visiting the International Anaplastology Association’s website, www.anaplastology.org. Let’s keep the conversation going! Spread the word and if you love your job or volunteer work, I want to hear about it. Feel free to write a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 😊