Media: Pen & Ink, Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC

Skills: Observational Sketching, Scientific Research

Scroll down for process images

1. The Project

To create a teaching illustration describing a critical step within a parathyroidectomy (removal of parathyroids, which are glands that are located within the neck) to be for use in a journal aimed primarily towards surgeons.

2. Observational Research

I observed several parathyroidectomies within the operating room. Quick gestural sketches were created to gather details on the surgical steps, what instruments were used, how they were used, how the anatomy was manipulated, and the surgeon's technique. Anatomy textbooks were reviewed and plastilina clay was used to build a 3D model to understand neck anatomy. Surgical instruments relevant to the procedure were collected as reference and parathyroidectomy surgical videos were reviewed in order to fully understand the procedure. 

3. Idea Refinement and Critique

The gestural sketches were used to create detailed drawings of each of the surgical steps in order to understand the procedure fully. Feedback from faculty and the surgeon was used to refine the critical steps of the parathyroidectomy. One step was selected for the final piece based on how much action was occuring, as well as relative importance of the step to the overall procedure. Several iterations were created based on feedback from the surgeon and faculty.

Final chosen step in the surgery. The moment where the middle thyroid vein is being ligated and divided before the parathyroids are removed. 

4. Final Design

I created the final piece using traditional pen & ink. It was scanned, processed in Photoshop, and edited in Illustrator to add the final labels.