medical illustration of a bariatric surgery approach – a gastric band on a stomach
medical illustration of an isolated bariatric surgery approach – Roux-en-Y procedure


medical illustration of a bariatric surgery approach - Roux-en-Y procedure in situ

in situ

medical illustration of a bariatric surgery approach - a duodenal switch procedure

Biliopancreatic Diversion

medical illustration of an older bariatric surgery approach - a vertical banded gastroplasty

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty

Bariatric Surgery
America's most common elective surgery


  • Client:
    US Surgical / Medtronic
    Norwalk, CT
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 ... a drawing can be simplified but still honor the beauty and complexity of nature.

A staple of American hospitals

Pardon the pun – I couldn't resist. With the advent of surgical staplers, "stomach stapling" became accepted as a method for controlling morbid obesity (100 pounds or more over an ideal body mass index). It has since been increasingly used as an elective surgery, recently becoming the most common elective surgery in America.

The Vertical Banded Gastroplasty was the first procedure used, but is now considered outdated in favor of simpler approaches. The Roux-en-Y and sleeve gastrectomy procedures are commonly used, but the simple, adjustable gastric band resonates the most with elective surgery patients.

medical device illustration of a medical stapler used for bariatric surgery

The Echelon60 surgical stapler. As with any tech, it has been superceded by the Echelon Flex series.

Marketing material

The overriding goal of this project was for a prospective patient to be able to trace the path of their digestion. Toward that end, the anatomy was simplified, but not to the point of offending medical professionals. There was considerable debate along the way with the numerous medical experts involved in approving the drawings: was the green intestine working to symbolize bile from the gall bladder, or did it look diseased? Would the reduced amount of small intestine, which made the path more clear, imply that intestines were removed?. In the end the patient's view won out, and clarity became the guiding principle.

A large portion of today's medical illustration marketplace is devoted to educating the public, whether it be on pharmacotherapy, surgical procedures, or veterinary care. I find this to be a very worthwhile calling; the essence of medical illustration is education and communication, and patients deserve to be informed as fully as possible about the care they are receiving.

My mantra for this type of work has always been "simple but not simplistic" – a drawing can be simplified but still honor the beauty and complexity of nature.

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