A precise illustration of a surgical procedure showing the inside of a patient's body

Dr. Parth Shah, the Director of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the Thoracic Outlet Center at Hartford Healthcare’s Heart and Vascular institute asked XVIVO to create an animation of a surgery he performs to relieve a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome, or TOS. The details of the surgery were difficult to convey in regular conversation and diagramming with a patient, and video recorded versions of the surgery lacked the depth of information for true understanding.

At the beginning of the project, our Creative Director KC Knack watched Dr. Shah perform a surgery to correct TOS, and she gathered detailed information that formed the foundation for developing the animation (image below).

Sketches showing the step-by-step process of creating a surgical illustration
Figure 1 – Intraoperative sketches from our Creative Director, KC, who observed a procedure to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. Dr. Shah and his team explained in detail many of the steps and anatomical structures that were seen during the procedure.

During the surgery, KC was better able to understand the relationships between different anatomical structures and visualize the textures and dynamics of tissues, which was challenging to achieve by reading reference literature on the topic or watching recorded videos of the surgery. KC noted that “observing the surgery in person was a very valuable and exciting experience.”

Throughout the project, the team at XVIVO worked closely with Dr. Shah and his colleagues to ensure precision in the animation.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

A very realistic style of animation was chosen to accurately portray what occurs during the surgery. The end result of the collaboration is an animation that contains very detailed visuals and voice over to inform patients and families about the procedure, and which could also serve as educational material on TOS surgery for surgeons-in-training.

The animation is currently featured on the Hartford Hospital website about TOS, along with comprehensive information about the symptoms, how it is diagnosed, non-surgical treatment options, and what to expect after surgery to correct TOS.