We might like to think that surgeons are born knowing how to perform life-saving operations, but even the most talented and experienced surgeons start out as medical students. It takes a long time before aspiring surgeons are ready to operate on live human beings; first, they must gain a detailed understanding of the inner-workings of the human body.
During this period of a surgeon’s training, educators use instructional tools to demonstrate different surgical techniques and procedures. You don’t have to look far in a medical textbook to find one of the most common and useful of these teaching tools—surgical illustrations.
Surgical illustrations might offer a cross-sectional view of organ tissue, or show surgeons how to properly clamp an incision.
In some cases, these illustrations can be more helpful than photos and videos because they’re not limited by tight spaces and challenging lighting conditions. Illustrations can selectively emphasize different structures in the body, and offer views that would be next to impossible to achieve with a camera. They can also provide comparative views of organs affected by different diseases and disorders.
Endoscopic photography techniques have come a long way in recent years, but they still can’t match the detail of a well-rendered illustration. For example, it can be easier to distinguish different types of tissue by using high-contrast colors in an illustration. In an endoscopic photo, on the other hand, these details can be dark and difficult to identify. This is why illustrations continue to be essential teaching tools in medical schools all across the country.
To see more examples of my illustration work, you can visit my portfolio page here!