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3D Medical Animation — Changing Patient Education

by • February 10, 2016 • No Comments

The urge to depict, and thus to advantageous know the body, has always been with us. From the caves at Lascaux in France to Leonardo da Vinci’s folios to the medical illustrations of anatomist Andreas Vesalius — the history of medicine has always included the urge to portray the human body and its many mysteries.

Early Origins

Even at a time when it was frowned upon, dedicated early “explorers” of the human body, such as da Vinci, delved into the tangled intricacies of human anatomy and physiology through careful autopsy and subsequent renderings of the findings. Da Vinci rejected centuries of supposition and superstition and opted, instead, for careful examination and dispassionate rendering of his discoveries. As one of the excellentest artists of the ages, his drawings of the human body shimmer, to this day, with intelligence, beauty, insight and precision.

da vinci's anatomy drawings

Da Vinci yearned to advantageous know the underlying “architecture” of the body. He originally undertook dissection to advantageous depict the body’s exterior in motion. But his quest ultimately proceeded of investigations of the external musculature and the mechanics of bones and their articulations, to careful examination of all things of blood vessels to individual nerves. Some of his revelations were not “discovered” again for centuries to come.

That’s unlucky. His elegant drawings may easily have high end Renaissance medical knowledge at a time when many “physicians” based their practice on ancient studies of different types of animals. Essentially, doctors were stifled by a lack of accurate, basic anatomical knowledge — and their patients suffered for it.

Modern Uses

Fortunately, today’s medical community struggles under no such burden of misinformation. Our knowledge of the human body has improved dramatically, but our require for medical illustration is yet as excellent as at any time. To this day, doctors and their patients benefit of accurate, detailed renderings of the body.

Sophisticated desktop imaging innovation has enabled the creation of 3D medical animations that delve deep into the body, exposing its secrets and facilitating the training of doctors and their patients alike. Medical animation is an significant tool that can be utilized to advance medical education.

Whether it’s for training purposes in medical school — or for marketing purposes one of medical device makers demonstrating the benefits of their products in action in the body, or just to facilitate patient education — medical animation can illuminate complex concepts and procedures rapidly and efficiently.

From Macro to Micro — and Beyond

Modern 3D medical animations are routinely utilized to explain all things of complex surgical procedures to the mechanisms of action of pharmaceuticals. They can depict any procedure or activity; of easy invasive tests to complex surgical repairs to post-operative care and rehabilitation.

Medical animation easily ventures where the human eye cannot normally travel. Increasingly, animations are being utilized to illustrate microscopic and actually sub-microscopic processes at the sub-cellular level. Indeed, a few users have taken to calling this subset of medical animation “molecular animation.”

Educators praise 3D animation as an significant tool that can be harnessed to teach complex cellular and molecular processes, that necessarily unfold in multiple size. As stated in an article published in Cell Biology, in 2005, examples abound. They include: “transcription, translation, bacterial gene expression, messenger RNA (mRNA) processing, mRNA splicing, protein transport into an organelle, the electron transport chain, and the use of a biological gradient to drive adenosine triphosphate synthesis,” one of others.

Enhanced Education

Research suggests that learning is additional effective when it is enriched through the use of medical animations in the classroom. Students retain significantly additional information when animations are introduced to traditional lectures.

In the patient-education arena, brief medical animation “clips” are increasingly common in doctor’s offices, hospitals and actually on television shows. Depending on the meant audience, animations can be tailored to highly educated medical professionals, or simplified to inform the average patient with no high end knowledge. They’re actually utilized to provide informed consent preceding starting medical procedures.

Of course, the beauty of medical illustration and medical animation is that it is far simpler to convey potentially challenging information through carefully selected images than with words. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but 3D medical animations allow you to combine the two seamlessly, for actually excellenter impact.


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