Tiara and I had an awesome trip to Atlanta, Georgia last week to check out ABC’s production facility and learn about their custom prosthesis. We are now happy to offer ABC custom prosthesis to our clients!
Here are a few highlights from our trip:
We met a good amount of people in the US part of the facilities of ABC including Co-CEO Jay Markowitz. Other varieties of people that we met include inside customer service team, accounts team, and production teams.
We were able to see the creation of standard breast forms including the making of the silicone, the making of the polyurethane bags that house the silicone, to filling the bags in molds of the prosthesis they are being made for, to the heating machines that turn the silicone into breast forms.
We learned that all forms are hand trimmed, meaning that the polyurethane has to be cut to make the edge of the prosthesis. Tiara and I were able to try our hand at trimming a form and we discovered what a talent this truly is! It was difficult to get a nice trim consistent edge! We discovered that the breast forms go through several stages of examination and quality checks including checks at the point of trimming, checks after trimming, a final washing and placement into their pink containers and then into boxes.
We went through a training course with Nikki who is one of the head of the custom department. We met with all four designers and got to be one on one with our designer, JoBeth, throughout training for clarification and questions.
Our designer, JoBeth, is available to help us anytime we need it. She takes our scans and photos and creates a digital breast form to fit our patient. She will then hold a Design Review with us to make sure we are satisfied with the work and projected fit before work is started on the custom form. The designs are then sent on to someone else who basically creates the computer code the machines need to craft the breast form.
The machines that make the breast form take blocks of material and carve them into a breast form mold. This process can take as little as a couple hours to more than 8 depending on the size and intricacy of the breast form. The machine utilizes a spinning round metal tool and uses a variety of sizes and shapes of the tools in order to make the perfect mold. The molds are then hand painted. The silicone is injected into the breast form along with sugar. The sugar helps to add the lightweight breathable honeycomb matrix that makes up the prostheses. Custom forms are then soaked in water to allow the sugar to dissipate and then sent along in final finishings before we receive them.