Pros­thetics program makes wounded warriors whole again

SAN ANTONIO - All too often, the men and women who serve our country return home and are never the same. A bomb blast or gunfire can leave them critically injured.

Those who survive may be forever changed, but a service provided in San Antonio is making our troops whole again.

Sgt. Junior Greene, 28, will never forget that moment in Iraq in October 2006. "I could hear everybody screaming. They're saying, 'there's a sniper, there's a sniper,'" Greene said.

He was hit seconds later. "It came behind my right ear and through my cheek," Greene said.

The bullet shattered Greene's jaw and broke off all his teeth. Six years and more than 15 surgeries later, Greene is at San Antonio Military Medical Center waiting to feel whole again. 

That's where doctors or artists, as Col. Alan Sutton calls them, come in. "The only limitation is our imagination," said Sutton with the SAMMC Oral & Maxillofacial Program.
They make whatever a wounded warrior needs. "We can create ears, noses, eyes, sides of heads," Sutton said. They can even create teeth like the ones Greene is getting.

Each patient represents a new challenge and new possibility, meaning every prosthesis is tailored just to them.

Each piece is hand painted and customized in the Oral and Maxillofacial Department. Some are glued on and others are clip-ons or even magnetic.

But its not just about looks. It's about improving quality of life. "The goal is to get me teeth so I could possibly eat again. Just to help me feel like a normal person again," Greene said.

The program also has a lab at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland where prosthetics are created, and its done free of charge for wounded warriors.

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.


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