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Placenta Accreta Spectrum Disorders.jpg


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


November, 2020


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. 

Placenta Accreta Spectrum Disorders.jpg



Tissue Cube


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.

Pathology Cube-01.jpg
Tissue Cubes Render.jpg


Tissue Landscape

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. 

Barany_Ingrid_Tissue Landscape.JPG


Layout Design


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.



Colour Thumbnails

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.

All Colours-01.jpg


  1.  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. 

  2. Krstić, R. V. 1991. Human microscopic anatomy: An atlas for students of medicine and biology. Springer-Verlag.

  3. Kumar, V., A.K. Abbas, and J.C. Aster. 2013. Robbins Basic Pathology, 10th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier. Page 277. 

  4. Moore, K. L., Persaud, T. V. N., & Torchia, M. G. 2008. The developing human: Clinically oriented embryology, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier. Page 125.

  5. Prat, J., & Mutter, G. L. (Eds.). 2014. Pathology of the female reproductive tract, 3rd ed. Churchill Livingstone. 

  6. Young, B. 2014. Wheater's functional histology: A text and colour atlas, 6th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. Page 374. 

  7. Placenta Accreta—Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2020. Merck Manuals Professional Edition.  

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