The Hughston Sports Medicine Foundation houses a complete medical illustration and photography department. Its staff consists of two full-time medical illustrators, whom are graduates of the University Texas Southwestern and University of Illinois at Chicago medical illustration masters programs. These skilled staff members respond to the medical illustration, photography, and graphic arts requests of the physicians and allied health-care professionals associated with The Hughston Clinic and the Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital and satellite locations. Their training provides them with the knowledge and skill sets to create anatomically accurate and visually stimulating artwork.
The department supports the Foundation’s medical education and research efforts through the production of original illustrations and animations, which are used in continuing education materials for Hughston physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, athletic trainers, radiologists, nurses, and patients. The department also provides illustration support to over 500 Hughston Society members and has created illustrations for five major medical textbooks.
The department’s primary function is to illustrate projects for the physicians and staff, using a wide array of mediums and software to complete the final product. Illustrations are produced in pen and ink, grayscale tonal drawings, watercolor and colored pencil. Sketches are scanned into the computer and manipulated digitally to create beautiful tonal or color artwork. Other computer programs are used to manipulate the artwork to develop 2-D animations, while still others are used to create stand-alone 3D animations.
Each year, the department produces countless numbers of slide presentations; illustrates more than 50 chapters and manuscripts; creates images and directs layout for an 8-page quarterly patient education newsletter, the Hughston Health Alert, Annual Report layout and several medical-legal defense exhibits.
Creating work for publication is one of the primary services the department offers the Hughston Clinic staff physicians. The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” becomes especially evident in the cooperative efforts with the medical writing department to achieve clarity and brevity in scientific articles. Kenneth Burkus, MD, a frequent user of the medical illustration department’s services and a highly published author, is quoted as saying, “With their work, my surgeon colleagues can get a precise understanding of what needs to be done with a procedure. That helps patients.” After the publication of the medical textbook, “Operative Treatment of Elbow Injuries,” which contained more than 450 original images, renowned surgeon Dr. Bernard Morrey wrote in its front matter, “With its excellent illustrations, I believe this text–the most comprehensive to date focusing on athletic and other injuries to the elbow–will be extremely useful to the orthopedic surgeon and the sports medicine specialist regarding the specific aspects of surgical technique.”
Another specialty of the medical illustration department is 3-D animation. The department is outfitted with a highly sophisticated 3-D modeling and animation program and the computer power necessary to create, render and produce the final animation sequence. Production of animation projects can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on factors, such as length of animation, number and complexity of models to be created, and complexity of subject matter. In one such project, a hip replacement surgery was animated, showing the step-by-step procedure using a specific set of instruments. References, such as the actual surgical instruments, a videotape of the surgical procedure, and bone models, were used to help make the animation appear and move in a believable manner. The final product accompanied physician interviews and surgical footage of the procedure on a DVD that was used for educational purposes. Carl Savory, MD, who was one of the physicians involved in the creation of this DVD has said, “A priceless education tool that goes beyond the standard applications seen today.”
The medical photography division of the department provides digital photography in a variety of settings. During surgery, the medical photographer documents the surgical procedure and technique, pathology, and instrumentation. In addition to the dissemination of these images in electronic presentations, these photographs are enlarged and reproduced in scientific exhibits and journal and textbook publications. Preoperative and postoperative photographs taken of patients also aid research. Because The Hughston Clinic provides orthopedic care, there are countless requests to scan and capture digital x-rays, computerized tomography, or CT, scans, bone scans, and fluoroscopy. The photographer is also available to document sporting events, campus events and meetings, to develop and stage photos required for ad production, magazine covers, newsletters, flyers, and brochures, to document cadaveric dissection in the research lab, and for studio portrait photography.