In 1980 Walter Spohn and a group of like-minded colleagues founded the American Anaplastology Association (AAA) at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California. Mr. Spohn wanted the AAA to serve as an open and inspiring "Information Exchange," welcoming all of the multidiscipline specialists involved in prosthetic rehabilitation, and to promote coordination and communication among professionals working along different but related paths in the service of the patient.
Walter Spohn was Chief of the Plastic Eye and Restorations Clinic at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in San Francisco from 1948 until his retirement in 1971. Mr. Spohn's first encounter with the world of prosthetics occurred during World War II when European sources for artificial glass eyes were no longer available. He was a member of the technical team assigned by the US Army Dental Corps to develop an artificial acrylic eye. After the war, he created ocular, dental, facial and somato prosthetics for a large number of disfigured and disabled veterans. Due to Mr. Spohn's broad experience in the restorative field, his professional interests expanded beyond the technical aspects of fabricating oculars and anatomical restorations to materials, technologies and research.
In 1971, Mr. Spohn became a consultant in Stanford University's Department of Surgery in Palo Alto, California. Mr. Spohn was given the opportunity to develop a formal training program for students interested in facial and somato prosthetic restorations. He called this career track, "Anaplastology." This two-year degree course curriculum included art and the basic sciences, materials and methods, ethics and business practices.
Mr. Spohn's legacy is the creation of the American Anaplastology Association. The AAA grew from a small group of dedicated professionals to an multinational forum of medical, dental, artistic and scientific professionals providing prosthetic restorative care for patients and advancing the knowledge of materials and techniques in the field of anaplastology.
In 2008 the American Anaplastology Association voted to change the name of the organization to the International Anaplastology Association in recognition of the emerging global profession of clinical anaplastology. Today, the IAA has some of the most talented professionals in the world.