Jane Allen steissaug
Jim Van der Gref is enjoying his retirement.
After 30 years of coaching football and track and field teams at Lebanon High School in Ohio, he played golf with friends and planned some long-term
Waiting for the holiday with his wife Rossi, do a little farming on six acres of land outside the city.
A warm afternoon in June 1, 1997, when he drove the tractor along two
On the driveway highway back to his house, the tractor's gas cap suddenly fell off, the gas sprayed out and got the gentleman wet.
From his head to the top of his leg, a spark turned him into a fireball.
After 20 minutes, the driver stopped to help.
VanDeGrift was flown to the Miami Valley Hospital in nearby Dayton. There, Mr.
VanDeGrift has started a long and difficult road to recovery for all burn patients, with a big difference.
He came to a hospital where a group of engineers, doctors and physical therapists were experimenting with movies --
They want a mask that will help him recover faster and reduce the need for surgery.
More than 2 million people suffer burns each year;
Mold between 8,000 and 12,000.
Of the 75,000 hospitalized patients, 20,000 had severe burns, accounting for at least 25% of the surface of their entire body.
These burn patients received several weeks of treatment in the intensive care unit, followed by several weeks of treatment in the burn ward, followed by years of rehabilitation and reconstruction operations.
One of the biggest problems with advertising is the growth of scar tissue, which is so hard and unyielding that it looks and feels like the tendon of Olympic weight lifters.
It lasted for a year or two.
If patients with extensive burns do not fight burns every day by stretching, massaging, and wearing tight clothing that slows the growth of Burns, their bodies shrink into a ball.
In order to control the scar tissue of facial burn, the patient must wear a plastic mask.
The mask is pressed on the scar to limit the flow of blood.
Scars cannot grow without blood to feed the tissue.
Traditionally, wearing a mask can be painful and claustrophobic.
The patient had to lean on his back because they had a thick plaster applied on their face.
When the plaster covers, they have to lie quietly for 30 minutes and breathe through a cocktail straw stuck in their nose.
Some must be calm.
The mask made with this method does not fit well, in part because the facial muscles move between standing and lying.
If there is no suitable fit, the mask does not put enough pressure on the scar tissue.
Burn patients still have to undergo several surgeries to remove scar tissue that is permanently opened or closed with a distorted mouth or eyes.
But now, three.
The size scanning technology, known for its use in the film industry, is replacing the old method.
The result is a painless process that creates a better fit mask.
Jennifer Whitestone, a biomedical engineer who was one of the original volunteers to transform mask technology, said: "Burn patients can install a high
A few months ago, before their faces began to make enough scar tissue to withstand the pain of traditional masks, tech masks.
The mask is more suitable, so this means that the growth of scar tissue can be arrested more quickly. ''Kristen Ause-
Ellis, a physical therapist at the Miami Valley Hospital, a volunteer organization, said, "patients are more willing to wear these new masks. '' She and Ms.
White Stone masks made with new technology installed masks for six patients.
They think that patients wearing high gear
Technology masks require less operation than traditional masks.
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The technology for making masks was invented 15 years ago in Monterey, California.
When electrical engineer Lloyd Adelman and his family invented a kind of three
Dimension copier to make life better
The size of people's heads.
They found a spot in the Hollywood special.
Scan dinosaurs for "Jurassic Park" and make images for other movies.
Patterson Air Force base makes more efficient oxygen masks and helmets for pilots.
Then, a group of engineers, doctors and prosthetic specialists volunteered to take the time to make the first one.
Technical masks for burn patients. Ms. Ause-
Ms. Elias led the project.
Since then, Whitestone has launched Total Contact, a company that offers software and hardware for making burn masks.
Two months after the accident
VanDeGrift sat on the stool and the scanner circled his head for 17 seconds, sweeping his face with a red laser he could not feel.
The scanner's camera collects 512 profiles, and its computer records the coordinates of 500 points on each line. Mr.
VanDeGrift's face appears on a computer screen in the form of a wired image with thousands of dots.
The next step is to make a mold for the mask.
Engineers at Bustech
An engineering company in Columbus used a computer to transfer Mr.
The face of VanDeGrift is divided into hundreds of cross sections, each of which is 1/5 thick.
The green laser tracks the cross section of the surface of the liquid polymer barrel and hardened a thin layer at a time.
Drip each layer of hardening layer into the liquid;
From the chin to the top of the nose, the mask is built layer by layer.
A day later, the mold was ready for smooth. Last step-
Make a mask--
It was done in a company that produces artificial limbs, Fidelity ortho.
The employees place the molds on the vacuum stand and heat the transparent plastic to 350 degrees until they are soft enough to shrink
Wrap up the mold.
Pick a mask
There are holes in the eyes, nose and mouth.
"This is the perfect choice," she said . "Ause-
Elias put on the mask.
VanDeGrift marks the plastic with a grease pencil to increase the size of the mouth hole.
Other burn experts believe the technology is promising, but its price is prohibitive as high as $1,500.
"Scanning laser technology seems to make the previous work tedious and laborious --
The strengthening process is much easier, says Dr.
Director of Baltimore Regional Burn Center, associate professor of plastic surgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
"The main limitation at the moment, in my opinion, is that the cost is too high. ''Mr.
VanDeGrift wears masks every night.
"I will wear it as long as I need it," he said . ".
It itches when I exercise and it's hard to talk well.
But I can forget.
His only vacation was to have a haircut, eat, or announce a high school football match for the local radio station. Ms. Ause-
Elias noted that the mask has begun to play a role.
"He did a good job," she said . ".
"He is healing much faster than other burn patients.
"We are constantly improving the quality of text archives.
Please send feedback, error reports, and suggestions to archid_feedback @ nytimes. com.
A version of this article appears on the August 4, 1998 national edition F4 page, titled: special effects technology helps scientists make better burn masks.