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facial palsyMedStar National Rehabilitation Network’s Jodi Barth PT and Gincy Stezar PTA care for patients suffering from idiopathic facial palsy. The condition, which is also known as Bell’s palsy, paralyzes half of the patient’s face virtually overnight. It has been demonstrated that patients who exercise their facial muscles recover more quickly than those who do not. Jodi and Gincy noticed, however, that their patients were emotionally distressed while practicing facial exercises with a mirror. The psychological impact of seeing a newly asymmetric face is great – leading patients to avoid looking in mirrors and, as a result, avoiding exercise.

To address the emotional impact of exercising with a mirror, Jodi and Gincy created the MirrorBook Rehabilitation device. Simply, the MirrorBook Rehabilitation device is a book with mirrors on both inside covers that allows patients to focus on the goal of a symmetric face. The patient positions the book such that the healthy side of the face is reflected in one mirror. The other mirror is aligned with the nose along the sagittal plane. The MirrorBook Rehabilitation device creates the illusion of a symmetric, “normal” face by reflecting the unaffected side onto the sagittal mirror. Using this technique, patients become enthusiastic and hopeful as they perform their exercises.

Jodi and Gincy submitted an invention disclosure for the MirrorBook Rehabilitation device. In evaluating the commercial potential for the product, the MedStar Institute for Innovation team learned that the MirrorBook Rehabilitation device concept was the subject of a meeting abstract more than one year prior to contacting Inventor Services. In the US, patent applications must be filed within a year of any public disclosure. This prevented Inventor Services from filing a patent application on MirrorBook. Inventor Services decided to commercialize not only the MirrorBook Rehabilitation device, but also transform it into an iPad App called Face2Face™ Facial Rehabilitation App for iPad.

The Face2Face™ Facial Rehabilitation App for iPad will track the patient’s progress and allow virtual off line interaction with Jodi and Gincy through instructional videos. The Face2Face™ Facial Rehabilitation App for iPad will enable a greater number of patients to perform the modified exercise and will also include tips and tricks that the therapists have learned over the years. MedStar Inventor Services contracted an iOS programmer to code the app, analyzed the code for any errors, conducted usability studies and prepared the app for release on Apple’s App Store. MedStar Health has teamed with Advantage Book Binders, a local book binder, to manufacture and sell the MirrorBook Rehabilitation device through their ecommerce portal.

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Find out about The Center for Facial Recovery by visiting: facialrecovery.com

You can download the app here.

Read the Washington Post article