UNDERSTANDING COMPLEX ANATOMY
The sheer number of foramina and the numerous structures that pass through them is a challenging topic for any introductory anatomist.
This illustration seeks to communicate these structures in a way that has yet to reach anatomical textbooks.
THE FORAMINA/APERTURES OF THE CRANIAL FOSSA AND CONTENTS
My goal for this project was to create an educational tool for introductory anatomists to learn about the foramina/apertures of the cranial fossa, as well as their contents.
Layout and design
The foramina and the structures that pass through them is a complex topic. The positions of the foramina across a varied topology of the skull lends to it being difficult to visualize.
Most, if not all, anatomical textbooks showing the foramina tend to show it in a standard superior view. This leads to some foramina being hidden, most especially the superior orbital fissure, and on occasion, foramen rotundum.
(Essential Clinical Anatomy, 5th ed. - Moore, Agur, and Dalley)
INCREASING VISIBILITY OF HIDDEN STRUCTURES
To improve the visibility of these foramina, I decided to create an illustration of the skull with an anterior tilt.
Skull - Image kindly taken by Dave Mazierski for this piece
Initial outline sketch
QUICKLY SCANNING STRUCTURES
I wanted readers to be able to quickly scan the illustration to identify structures passing through foramina by foramina and by type (nerve, artery, or vein).
I decided to group structures exiting foramina by foramina, and to also use color as a preattentive feature, using recognized color systems for these structures.
Example from finished illustration
The first illustration provides information on general anatomy within this region, while the second provides tailored information specifically focussing on learning the foramina and what travels through them.
"I wish I had this when I was learning human anatomy and neuroanatomy."
I am very pleased with this piece, and I hope to see it incorporated in anatomy classrooms for all introductory anatomists to benefit from.