AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 1, 2020


The Simple Things

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scalpelinhandkoMy pencil drawing displays the elemental tools of both surgery and art. The hand is the common denominator: whether wielding a pencil or a scalpel, it leaves a mark. One is used to depict the other on paper.

The simple implements of both art and surgery are building blocks. From drawing comes painting, sculpture and video. From incision skills, we specialize in the cranium or spine. How heavy the blade was the first time I took it in my hand. The first time I held the graphite, how light it felt. Yet, no result in either is ever simple. It takes years to look easy, and only so because it has been mastered, no matter a drawing or a discectomy. Additional training moves us beyond these beginning tools, still we feel their weight the entire journey. 

The tip of my 5H pencil is the point of a 10-blade. In the rendering and the reckoning, pencil in one hand, scalpel in the other, these instruments are the basis of what we do as artists and neurosurgeons. One has the potential to save you and the other, the power to inspire you. What is it about these simple tools that make words useless? It is the mark they leave behind.

Click here to view the short video, “The Simple Things.”


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Therese Ko | December 11, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Amazing drawing! What talent! Looks so real !