THE CENTER

The Center for Alloplastic Facial Reconstruction – “The Real Life Center”

The Home Office and clinic of the Real Life Center is located in the heart of Little Rock’s medical community, near UAMS, VA Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center and the State Hospital and is easily accessible from Interstate 630 off of exit 4. The facility has a full time Ocular Prosthetics Clinic (Arkansas Artificial Eye Clinic), Facial Prosthesis Clinic and a Somato Prosthetic clinic that creates custom life-like prosthetic- anaplastology type restorations for most anything missing on the human body such as fingers, hands, feet, toes, breasts, etc.

The Center for Alloplastic Facial Reconstruction (Alloplastic Reconstruction, Inc.) also work collectively with sister company Kaczkowski, Inc. in the active development of new alloplastic, anaplastology, prosthetic technologies, serving patients directly within the Clinic and surrounding hospitals.  The home medical clinic consists of two patient waiting areas, a private patient counseling area, formal conference room, and patient clinic with a state-of-the-art 3D sculpting lab and private treatment areas.

VISION

“The Real Life Center” is devoted to improving the quality of life for individuals affected by disfigurement and amputation through the sensitive replication of natural anatomy.

“It is our obligation, commitment and concern –
with an unceasing search for perfection,
for patients and physicians,
that dictates the quality of our work.

To serve humankind in the way we do,
by helping to restore a person’s identity,
is the most exciting and gratifying
thing we can imagine.“

About Us:

“Real Life” is one of the names used to describe the combined products and services of The Center for Alloplastic Facial Reconstruction (Alloplastic Reconstruction, Inc.) and her sister company, Kaczkowski, Inc. Together these two entities work collectively to develop new prosthetic / alloplastic technologies and serve patients directly within the Clinic and surrounding hospitals. The Clinic’s director, Michael D. Kaczkowski, has been serving patients needs for over twenty five years, creating many unique prosthetic technologies that have been fitted on literally thousands of patients throughout the world.

TECHNOLOGIES

RealLifeSkin™

RealLifeSkin™ prosthetic technologies are not just prosthetic devices, but an entire prosthetic skin technology process that is adaptable for fabrication into anaplastology and prosthetic devices as small as a fingertip or as large as entire leg. RealLifeSkin™ can even made into skin covers that protect and enhance the gripping power of bionic and body powered hands.

RealLifeSkin prosthetic skin technology cross-section diagram
Engendered with creases, pores and fingerprints, RealLifeSkin™ is created of three skin layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous. RealLifeSkin™ not only contain three skin layers, but meticulously and accurately simulates the visual properties of each human skin layer it represents.

RealLifeSkin’s™ epidermis skin layer contains remarkably realistic fingerprints and skin detail along with a simulated melanin. The dermis skin layer is a translucent mesh of skin cells with little or no pigment, allowing the color from the subcutaneous layer to be seen. RealLifeSkin’s™ dermis layer is visually identical. And while the deepest human skin layer, the subcutaneous layer, contains blood vessels and subcutaneous fat that creates the final element of skin color, RealLifeSkin™ mimics these hues with a custom painted translucent layer of pigmented silicone.

RealLifeSkinTan

In real human skin, the epidermis layer (the outer layer of skin) contains pigment called melanin. When skin is exposed to the sun, more melanin is created to help counteract the damaging rays of the sun. RealLifeSkinTan™ is a unique “prosthetic melanin” in a bottle offered to all patients so the prosthesis can be made to match their new tan. Each user is able to apply this “liquid tan” directly on their prosthesis where it is absorbed immediately into the epidermis layer. Each subsequent rubbing of the fluid makes the RealLifeSkin™ gradually darker, thus protecting the user from accidentally “tanning too quickly”. This unique technology is not a paint or a pigment, so it never changes the surface texture of the life-like skin surface, but literally “tans” it like real skin. Also, similar to a real sun-tan, RealLifeSkinTan™ is designed to fade so the original skin color can return.

RealLifeEye™

RealLifeEye™ ocular prosthesis technology is a unique and proprietary process that produces eye prostheses that are extraordinarily life-like in appearance. The irises (colored part of the eye) are filled with ultra fine stroma detail and remarkable three-dimensional depth. The RealLifeEye scleras (white part of the eye) with their poly-chromatic washes of color and vascular depth, also appear as living tissue.

The RealLifeEye™ technology is offered in varying levels of symmetry and color requirements. Most patients find the unsurpassed realism of the technology more than suitable, however, for more specific needs, the RealLifeEye™ technology even be tailored to match the companion eye as a literal photographic-copy, capturing every subtle detail of the “iris-fingerprint.” This “photo-symmetry” version of the technology is perfect for professionals such as medical doctors whose profession requires them to evaluate their patients in close proximity. Executives and other professionals also find this level of duplicating symmetry essential for their profession.
The unsurpassed life-like appearance of RealLifeEye™ ocular prostheses is attributed to the engineered combination of digital computer pigment printing, innovative transparent layering processes, and artistic hand-painting techniques. The diagram depicts the unique multi-step processes used to create the RealLifeEye™ technology.

Intra-Anatomy™ Sub-Dermal Prosthetic Technologies

Real Life’s patented Intra-Anatomy™ (also called Internal Fixation Retention- IFR) serves many functions, such a sinus cavity prosthetic reconstruction and prosthesis retention.

Diagram Showing RealLifeSkin™ Nasal Prosthesis with Intra-Anatomy™ Sinus Cavity Prosthetic Reconstruction which aids in improved breathing, speech and swallowing as well as prosthesis retention

 

Air-Way Replication For many individuals facial loss is more than skin deep. Depending on the extent of loss, some patients may also require part of the pharynx replicated. An artificial pharynx, sinus cavity and entire sub-dermal sinus cavity prosthesis can help restore the natural humidity of the area and improve both the voice resonance and the air control affecting speech articulation. In cases such as these, before the prosthesis is fitted, speech articulation often resembles that of a person with a cleft palate because a substantial volume of air is forced out through the open wound after it passes through the larynx. The prosthesis and its sub-dermal prosthetic structures redirect the airflow to a normal pattern. A side benefit to the patient is the absence of prosthesis “blow-outs” (caused by coughing or sneezing) that occur in cosmetic prostheses designed without functional sinus cavity reconstruction airways.

Sinus Cavity Replication Exenteration and other ablative surgeries often expose the sinus cavity and may remove sections of the sinuses. The Intra-Anatomy™ can be designed into sinus pathways so that secretions are drained, by gravity flow, into the posterior sinus cavity, or if necessary, into to an alloplastic collecting cavity.

Bone and Tissue Stabilization After a rhinectomy, orbital exenteration, or other ablative facial surgery, many facial patients are not aware that the surrounding skin, bone and sinus tissue will slowly migrate into the opening left after surgery. In many cases the body will completely seal the sinus opening through the body’s natural migration process. If the sinus cavity becomes closed, many serious problems beyond basic speech impairment occur. Fortunately, the use of sinus cavity Intra-Anatomy™ naturally inhibits this serious problem from occurring.

Artificial Bone Bone-like alloplastic removable implants are often designed into the Intra-Anatomy™ when it is needed to help improve normal speech resonance and improved fit. In cases such as these, artificial bone can also act as a retentive aid and help maintain the integrity of the entire sub-dermal section of the prosthesis.

CONSIDERATIONS

Considerations for RealLifeSkin™ Prosthetic and Alloplastic Reconstruction

PRE-SURGERY (For Cranio-facial Prosthetic Patients): It is highly desirable for patients needing craniofacial reconstruction to be referred to Real Life before undergoing surgery. During a pre-surgical evaluation, one of our alloplastic reconstruction specialists can explain the procedure and demonstrate its positive results. A 3d surface scan or impression of the entire face will also be taken during this visit and later used to recreate the detail of the soft tissue removed at the time of surgery. Close-up photographs made during this visit will demonstrate details of the skin and be kept for later reference, becoming part of the patient’s medical record.

POSTOPERATIVE PROCEDURE (For Cranio-facial Prosthetic Patients): The patient’s first postoperative visit is usually scheduled for the sixth week after surgery. A second impression is made of the wound and remaining anatomy. Or, preferably, the patient can provide us with a new CT scan which can be used to create the intra-anatomy removal implants and prostheses. If an CT scan is not available, the sinus patencies are packed to prevent the impression material from filling the patent sinus cavities. The impression must be extensive enough to reach normal tissue surrounding the wound. After the impression material congeals, a thin layer of cast stone plaster is poured on top of the impression to prevent it from binding or bending. The entire impression mass is then removed. The impression is then filled and a positive replication of the wound is obtained. Photographs are taken again to compare with the pre-surgical photographs. Tissue distortion produced by tumor masses or distortion from the surgical procedure can be identified by this comparison, and this information can be used in subsequent procedures.

POSTOPERATIVE PROCEDURE (Finger, Hand, Foot and Limb Patients): For digit and limb patients, a silicone impression processes is typically employed. Impressions of existing contra-lateral digits or limbs are taken and used to create the final prosthesis.  Residual limb edema should be dissipated before this appointment in order to ensure optimum prosthetic fitting.

FACIAL PROTHESIS RETENTION Retention of RealLifeSkin™ prostheses is accomplished by use of our patented Intra-Anatomy™ (also called Internal Fixation Retention- IFR), osseointegration, medical adhesive, use of eye glasses, or a combination of these methods. During the first clinic visit, each patient is evaluated individually to best determine which retention method or combination of methods is best for them. Many patients email photographs for a pre-evaluation in order to save on travel resources – this can be done through the online Contact Form found under the Contact section.

Diagram Showing RealLifeSkin™ Nasal Prosthesis Air flow Design Air-Way Replication

AIR-WAY REPLICATION For many individuals facial loss is more than skin deep. Depending on the extent of loss, some patients may also require part of the pharynx replicated. An artificial pharynx, sinus cavity and entire sub-dermal sinus cavity prosthesis can help restore the natural humidity of the area and improve both the voice resonance and the air control affecting speech articulation. In cases such as these, before the prosthesis is fitted, speech articulation often resembles that of a person with a cleft palate because a substantial volume of air is forced out through the open wound after it passes through the larynx. The prosthesis and its sub-dermal prosthetic structures redirect the airflow to a normal pattern. A side benefit to the patient is the absence of prosthesis “blow-outs” (caused by coughing or sneezing) that occur in cosmetic prostheses designed without functional sinus cavity reconstruction airways.
SINUS CAVITY REPLICATION Exenteration and other ablative surgeries often expose the sinus cavity and may remove sections of the sinuses. The Intra-Anatomy™ can be designed into sinus pathways so that secretions are drained, by gravity flow, into the posterior sinus cavity, or if necessary, into to an alloplastic collecting cavity.

BONE AND TISSUE STABILIZATION FOR FACIAL ANATOMY After a rhinectomy, orbital exenteration, or other ablative facial surgery, many facial patients are not aware that the surrounding skin, bone and sinus tissue will slowly migrate into the opening left after surgery. In many cases the body will completely seal the sinus opening through the body’s natural migration process. If the sinus cavity becomes closed, many serious problems beyond basic speech impairment occur. Fortunately, the use of sinus cavity Intra-Anatomy™ naturally inhibits this serious problem from occurring.

ARTIFICIAL BONE Bone-like alloplastic removable implants are often designed into the Intra-Anatomy™ when it is needed to help improve normal speech resonance and improved fit. In cases such as these, artificial bone can also act as a retentive aid and help maintain the integrity of the entire sub-dermal section of the prosthesis.

EYE REPLICATION Custom impression fitted prosthetic eyes are created from FDA approved methylmethacrylate and our unique RealLifeEye™ technology.  See the Eye section for more information.

FINGER AND HAND PROSTHESES: Using the impressions for the contra-lateral side, prostheses are created to match both size, color, detail and translucency – all under the design paradigm of enhanced individual function.

LEG AND ARM PROSTHESES: Real Life can create various types of prostheses, designed to the patient’s individual needs. These prostheses can also be covered with our RealLifeSkin™ life-like skin technology. All fabrication and patient visits are performed at one of Real Life Prosthetics facilities.

TEAM APPROACH: It is recommended that patients be referred to Real Life by their Physician. Consultation, prosthetic work and follow-up care are pursued with the referring physician through a multi-disciplinary approach tailored to each patient’s needs. All work is performed by a team of highly-trained and experienced alloplastic reconstruction specialists of various disciplines and experience, anaplastologists, ocularists, prosthetists, prostodontists and technicians with special emphasis placed on the patient’s comfort and privacy. When feasible, pre-surgical consultation between a specialist and referring physician is highly desirable. Pre-surgical psychiatric or psychological counseling is also helpful and reassuring to patients and their families in preparing to adjust to the results of ablative surgery. Patients, as well as referring physicians, are guaranteed total confidentiality in all matters.

TRAVEL

Travel To The Center for Alloplastic Facial Reconstruction in Little Rock

Many of Real Life’s patients have traveled to the Center from all over the world to receive the unique alloplastic technologies and artistry not offered locally. For International or out-of-State patients, it is convenient to fly into Little Rock Airport due to its close proximity to the Center (15 min away.) However, flying into the Memphis, TN airport may be more convenient depending on where your flight is coming from. Memphis is only a two hour drive from the Center.
Real Life’s home Center is located in the heart of Little Rock’s medical community, near UAMS, VA Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center and the State Hospital and is easily accessible from Interstate 630 off of exit 4. Click on the image below for an enlarged street map, or visit the Contact Section for a Google Active Map

TEAM

Michael D. Kaczkowski,

Director, Ocularist, Anaplastologist and Alloplastic Reconstruction Specialist

Michael D. Kaczkowski is the lead Ocularist and Anaplastologist at the Real Life Center. He is also an artist, inventor, author and prosthetic skin technology pioneer with a quarter century of clinical experience in anaplastology and alloplastic reconstruction. Mr. Kaczkowski is known internationally as both an artist and entrepreneur creating several companies which have developed and manufactured various life-like prosthetic skin technologies. Among these technologies include Dermatos®, Livingskin®, Derma~Flex®, MyoDerm,® Derma~Hair® and Derma-Tan®, RealLifeEye® and RealLifeSkin®. His technologies have been worn by literally thousands of patients world-wide, including famous movie stars, models and politicians, and have been highlighted in the press, both locally and nationally, as well as in main-stream international magazines including Men’s Health, The Ladies Home Journal, and Stuff Magazine. Additionally his work has been seen on television broadcasts including The Tricia Show, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel and the hit TV series ER. Mr. Kaczkowski has also been profiled in several national publications and newspapers. He has authored various articles for amputee, prosthetic and health journals, including In-Motion, First Step, In-Step and The World Health Organization Journal. He is an active public speaker, delivering lectures and in-services to many professional organizations, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and private companies both nationally and abroad. 
Curt Risinger Medical Artist Mr. Risinger is a medical artist for the Real Life Center and has been sculpting facial and somato anatomy for over 20 years. His talents and enthusiasm make him a valuable member of the RealLife team.
Rachel Kaczkowski Public Relations, Charity Events, and  Marketing  Rachel has been active is group organising, planning and marketing for several years. She serves the needs of her communities, the patients and the referring physicians of the Center.
Christine Tirman Patient Care Coordinator Christine serves as the clinic administrator and patient care coordinator for the Southern United States. Ms. Tirman has 30 years experience in the medical field, working with patients who are faced with cancer, trauma, and congenital deformities.  She is also trained in insurance filing, obtaining and dispersing medical records, surgical scheduling and coordination with other physicians and hospitals.  She is part of this team that puts the needs of every patient and family member first.  She is also helpful in explaining the process and procedures that will be experienced by the patient and their family members.
James Hankins Lab Manager James “Derek” serves as Real Life’s primary laboratory technician. His skilled dexterity and critical eye bring sterling quality to Real Life’s eye prostheses during their molding and finishing processes.