Placenta Accreta Spectrum Disorders
create a pathological illustration showing the progression of disease
Visual Representation of
Processes in Pathology
Professor Shelley Wall,
University of Toronto
Procreate & Adobe Illustrator
Educated Lay Audience
During normal pregnancy, the placenta invades into the uterine wall in order to establish circulation with a supply of oxygen and nutrients for the developing fetus.
However, in pathological cases, the placenta abnormally adheres and invades too deeply into the uterus, preventing the normal process of separation which occurs after parturition. This leads to postpartum maternal hemorrhaging which can have serious consequences if not adequately controlled.
This piece illustrates placental villi invasion into the various layers of the endometrium and the cells involved in this disease process.
I created a maquette of the 3 tissue cubes in Maya to resolve lighting effects. Afterwards, I rendered the tissue cubes using Procreate and brought them over to Illustrator for the final layout.
I drew a 'tissue landscape' study of a placental villus, showing the anatomy of the fetal capillaries from a wide angle view as if they are reaching out towards the viewer.
Iterations to the tissue cubes were made to emphasize that placental abnormalities fall under a spectrum and aren't necessarily 'hard' delineations. In both versions of the layout, I wanted to mirror the curvature of the placenta to show their relation in macroscopic and microscopic scale.
I explored two versions of colour palettes - 'light mode' and 'dark mode', both skewed to a warm and cool tint. Eventually, I opted for the lighter, peachy colour palette as I felt it was more suitable for the sensitive subject matter pertaining to maternal and fetal health.
Hecht, J. L., Baergen, R., Ernst, L. M., Katzman, P. J., Jacques, S. M., Jauniaux, E., Khong, T. Y., Metlay, L. A., Poder, L., Qureshi, F., Rabban, J. T., Roberts, D. J., Shainker, S., & Heller, D. S. 2020. Classification and reporting guidelines for the pathology diagnosis of placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) disorders: Recommendations from an expert panel. Modern Pathology, 33(12), 2382–2396.
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