Second year BA(Hons) Drawing student Hannah Berrisford has completed work with the oesophago-gastric surgery team at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, resulting in a series of illustrations to help the team demonstrate an improved anastomotic technique developed at the hospital.
Hannah was approached to draw a few frames to help illustrate the new procedure and, already interested in medical illustration, Hannah felt this would be a good opportunity to see what was involved in that discipline.
Much of what turned into quite a lengthy project, involved working at distance, from Falmouth, with a Consultant Oesophago-gastric Surgeon in Exeter, sharing screens over WebEx, and using a Wacom tablet to make digital drawings, something that Hannah hadn’t felt was her forte. She worked with the surgeons using WebEx to modify the drawings as they understood their technique in more detail. Of the experience, Hannah says, ‘I learned that communication with the commissioner is a vital part of the working process’.
Hannah’s drawings have already formed part of a presentation given by the team at the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus in Singapore, which included surgeons from Australia and the Unites States who are interested in adopting the new technique. Her clear illustrations enabled animation through PowerPoint, which showed the process without irrelevant details that inevitably form part of video.
A Consultant Oesophago-gastric Surgeon at Derriford Hospital wrote to Hannah to say ‘Thank you so much for the fantastic illustrations…Thank you for your patience in working alongside us (a team of five surgeons, who have all had input to your illustrations) to produce really excellent illustrations of a difficult three dimensional procedure’.
Of medical illustration, Hannah notes, ‘An understanding of the body is important. Had I not watched the operation on video, I wouldn’t have been able to understand why I was drawing certain things, which would have meant the project would have failed. It was a good learning experience’.
The final iteration of Hannah’s drawing will be published with the team’s paper, which is about to be submitted to the Journal ‘Diseases of the Esophagus’, an international journal with an impact factor of 2.15, cited 2370 times last year.