bachelor thesis 2013

Cleft Closure – the all-in-one-concept

An optimum start to life:
With the help of the surgery after the all-in-one-concept, the gap caused by a defect in the pre-natal development, can be closed short after birth. Like this most of the patients which have only 3 month are able to learn normally sucking, swallowing and speaking.

The reconstructive surgery in the field of cranio-maxillofacial surgery is concerned inter alia with the closure of cleft lip and palate defects, which are popularly known as harelips. A mistake of the developement in the womb causes that these children are already born with this defect. Closing a biltaral cleft lip and palate at an early stage significantly contributes to a better development of the child. Especially the gap in the palate handicaps the baby during feeding.
Later on the gap interferes the learning of sound shaping and speaking. Even swallowing is a major problem for cleft patients. The improved appearance also plays a significant role. PD Dr. Dr. Katja Schwenzer-Zimmerer closes in only one early operation the cleft and her approach allows a normal start to life for the affected child.

For this purpose elaborated animation summarizes the special features of this approach in just a few minutes and clarifies in the same time the advantages of this method in comparison to the traditional practice of longstanding, repetitive operations.In an animation the pre- and postoperative phase can be integrated and displayed. The 3D model provides the viewer a realistic orientation in the surgical events, thus contributing to a better understanding. To prepare the creation of the animation it was helpful to use avaible computertomographic scans and diverse photgraphic material, supplemented by sketches made in the operation room. The target group of the animated visualisation are young doctors who have a degree in medicine and dentistry, and now aspire to the field of maxillofacial surgery. It can be assumed therefore of a very thorough anatomical knowledge.

The educational focus is the representation of the surgical course of action. Thus, the illustration of the incision and suture technique is of great importance.
So the sequence of performed operation and the application of learned methods is mediated. To appeal to a broad professional audience, the voice-over of the animation is in English.


mentoring design: Jeanne Peter, Simone Monhart Wüthrich.

cooperation: PD Dr. med Dr. med. dent. Katja Schwenzer-Zimmerer, interdisciplinary competence centre for cleft lip and palate of the university hospital in Basel, Switzerland.

Bernd Spiessl Symposium

Cleft-Closure – The All-In-One-Concept
A 3D-Animated Solution in the Context of a Bachelor-Thesis in Scientific Illustration

The early completed cleft-lip and palate closure helps children to develop suction, swallow and sound forming without restrictions. In cooperation with PD Dr. Dr. Katja Schwenzer-Zimmerer, a specialist in cleft-surgery, the idea arose to represent her concept in a 3D-animated movie. In the context of my practical bachelor thesis in Scientific Illustration at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland) the ambition of this work was to show the specific features of her concept. Based on a theoretical research about the illustrative history in cranio-maxillofacial surgery I got an overview of the existing visualization and came to the conclusion the best way to clarify the surgical activities is to use modern technologies. 3D-build animations concentrate the traditional category of visualization in phases to an automatic illustration sequence. An animation supports the specific features of the all-in-one concept and shows the technique of the cleft-lip and palate closure in a limited time frame. The animation shows the preparation, the closure after the all-in-one-concept and the results of that in the space of a few minutes.

The 3D-based solution gives the viewer an optimal orientation to the subject. This orientation can be transferred directly to the real patient. The main creative concern was to introduce the fascination of traditional medical illustration into the technical based artwork of a 3D animation. The representation of traditional scientific illustration is favoured by the majority of consumers of medical illustration. With the help of colour an light I could work out a creative solution with simultaneous consideration and create a useful didactic statement. The target group are surgical students who already completed university studies in medicine and dentistry and want to specialise in cleft-lip and palate surgery. The limitation to this target group helps to find many answers to the didactic realization. The knowledge transfer in the surgical field is clearly based on the whole scope of anatomical knowledge. Because of that the animation only shows a basic anatomical orientation and puts an emphasis on the surgical story line by showing the surgical activities in motion.

To create this animation I used the 3D-programm Cinema 4D and build up the model with the help of photos and sketches. My university supported me with two creative mentors, Simone Monhart Wüthrich and Jeanne Peter. PD. Dr. Dr. Schwenzer Zimmerer supported me with useful medical advises. the Bernd-Spiessl-Symposium


On the occassion of the 8th international Bernd-Spiessl-symposium 2013 I was allowed to present my bachelor’s project.My listeners were oral and maxillofacial surgeons from around the world, who exchanged during this meeting about innovations and technologies in the oral and maxillofacial surgery. the Bernd-Spiessl-Symposium