PORTFOLIO / ILLUSTRATION / Aortic valve replacement

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Aortic valve replacement
Graphite + Adobe Photoshop CS4
Surgical residents
M. Corrin1 | Content expert: Dr. RJ Cusimano2
This series of illustrations is intended to provide surgical residents with a detailed overview of an aortic valve replacement procedure. The primary goal of this project was to develop a set of skills essential in surgical illustration, which includes observing and documenting procedures in the operating room; translating this knowledge into a visual representation of key steps within the procedure; and creating accurate depictions of surgical tools, anatomical structures, and surgical techniques. The technical aims of this project were to practice focusing the eye through the reduction of extraneous details, improve layout/design sense, and develop a more organic look to digital rendering in Photoshop.
This illustration received an Award of Merit in the Student Tonal category at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Association of Medical Illustrators, and a Biomedical Communications Award of Excellence (2010). It is currently being used by Dr. Cusimano to explain the surgical procedure to patients at Toronto General Hospital.
1Biomedical Communications, University of Toronto 2Cardiovascular Surgery, Toronto General Hospital

Sequential illustration final sketches


Tissue studies

This series of sketches were used to examine and practice rendering the visual properties of tissues and structures that appear frequently in surgical illustration. (Graphite, marker, pen & ink)


Operating room (OR) sketches

These quick drawings were done during OR observation of a triple valve repair/replacement procedure. I decided to focus on the aortic valve replacement for my illustration. (Ballpoint pen)

Sketch process

These initial sketches were used to determine the sequence of steps I would be including in the final illustration. (Blue col-erase pencil, Sakura microns)

Visual references

I had some difficulty with the perspective of the Metzenbaum scissors and valve so I built quick models in Cinema 4D as references.


Layout proved to be an unexpected challenge! After many iterations, I somehow ended up deciding on a layout that was quite similar to one of my earliest attempts.

Baumgartner, W.A. 2000. Atlas of Cardiac Surgery. Philadelphia: A Hanley & Belfus Title, pp. 161-167.
Conte, J.V., Baumgartner, W.A., Dorman, T., and S. Owens. 2008. The Johns Hopkins Manual of Cardiac Surgical Care. St. Louis: Mosby, pp. 104-107.
Cooley, D.A. 1984. Aortic valve procedures. Techniques in Cardiac Surgery. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders pp. 83-87, 177-185.
Edmunds Jr., L.H. W. Norwood, and D. Low. 1990. Atlas of cardiothoracic surgery. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, pp. 22-24, 36-37.
Gay, W.A. 1990. Atlas of Adult Cardiac Surgery. London: Elsevier Health Sciences, pp.10-19, 22-25, 70-79.
Harlan, B.J. 1996. Illustrated Handbook of Cardiac Surgery. New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 13-22, ch. 12.
Sutton III, J.P., S.Y. Ho, and R.H. Anderson. 1995. The Forgotten interleaflet triangles: a review of the surgical anatomy of the aortic valve. Annals of Thoracic Surgery 95: 419-427.