About Vesalius

How to Use this Site | Troubleshooting | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Image Licensing / Submissions | Subscriber Demographics

Background | Vesalius Mission | Contact Us

How to Use this Site 

Content on Vesalius is located in the Vesalius Clinical Folios and Image Archive.

The Image Archive is a collection of the original illustrations that are found throughout the Clinical Folios, organized by topic. To download the full-sized version of an illustration, Vesalius subscribers can click the thumbnail version of the image in the Image Archive.

Un-watermarked versions of Vesalius images (illustrations as well as the photographs and radiographic images in the Clinical Folios) can be licensed for use in commercial applications, like multimedia works, books, and medical-journal articles.

For information on image licensing, or to find out how you can submit images and narratives to the Vesalius Clinical Folios, send e-mail to:

The Clinical Folios are a collection of graphical educational narratives on surgical anatomy and procedures designed for online reference and study. Unless otherwise noted, all Vesalius narratives and discussions are written by medical professionals. Content in the Vesalius Clinical Folios is arranged by topic and presented under six headings: Narratives, Thumbnails, Transparencies, Exercises, Discussions, and SCALpels.

Each folio in the Clinical Folios has its own unique VID number. The VID (e.g. 1056) is listed under the link to each folio on the topic index pages. If you already know the VID of the folio you want to view, you can save time by entering it in the "Retrieve Folio by VID" form on the Clinical Folios page, then clicking the adjacent button.

Narratives are an ordered series of related images, animations, or short videos linked by descriptive text that together explain the key steps in a surgical procedure or the anatomy relevant to one or more surgical procedures.

Thumbnails are pages that provide an index of the principal images and text paragraphs in a Narrative. The captions associated with each thumbnail image are cross-linked to the corresponding narrative content.

Transparencies are short interactive programs or movies (based on Macromedia's ShockWave or Apple's QuickTime technology) that present a layered or rotational view of surgical anatomy. Short QuickTime videos are also incorporated directly into the most recent narratives.

Exercises allow viewers to assess their understanding of anatomy and radiology, by identifying anatomical structures in illustrations or interpreting radiological images.

SCALpels are PDF files that summarize basic pathologies and treatments in outline format. SCALpels is an acronym for Surgical Core Applied Learning, and these files are intended for study and test preparation.

Vesalius subscribers can additionally:

• view the explanatory text for the procedural and anatomy narratives in the Clinical Folios;

• customize Vesalius for their own use, by creating Notes, Personal Thumbnails, Presentations, and Quizzes, and accessing them through their Personal Pages;

• download Vesalius images, illustrations, photographs, animations, and multimedia resources from the Image Archive and Clinical Folios and use them for non-commercial, short-term educational applications, subject to the terms of use that govern this site.

If you're already a subscriber, click the Login button (top left), and then login to be able to view explanatory text in the Clinical Folios narratives, access your Personal Pages, or download content from the Clinical Folios and Image Archive. For information about subscribing, click the Subscribe button in the top left corner of this page.

A few older portions of the Clinical Folios (i.e. Transparencies and short videos in some of the Narratives) rely on QuickTime from Apple or Shockwave from Macromedia – so for full access to all folios, you need to make sure that the QuickTime and Shockwave players have been installed in your browser. Both players are free, and can be downloaded and installed on either Windows or Macintosh platforms. To download the QuickTime or Shockwave player plug-in now, click the appropriate icon below:

Download free QuickTime player.

Download free Shockwave player.

Personal Pages – Notes, Thumbnails, Presentations, and Quizzes:

As a subscriber, after logging in you can type up to 250 characters of your own Notes into a text window at the bottom of each "frame" in a narrative, then save them for your personal reference by clicking the "Update" button at the bottom of each narrative page. Any text you enter this way will appear in the Notes window for the appropriate frame the next time you visit this page. Notes can be erased by deleting them in the text window, and then clicking the "Update" button. Other Vesalius users will not see your Notes.

Beneath the Notes window of each frame you will see the question, "Include a link to this frame on your Personal Thumbnails page?", followed by two radio buttons labeled "Yes" and "No". By clicking the "Yes" radio button underneath a frame, and then clicking the "Update" button at the bottom of the narrative page, you can add a link to this frame to your Personal Thumbnails page, making it easy for you to return to this frame at some future time. To do so, just click the link at the bottom of any Vesalius page to reach your Personal Thumbnails page, then find and click the link to the frame you want.

After you have added thumbnail images and links to your Personal Thumbnails page, you can use them to create Presentations. Vesalius Presentations consist of an ordered series of the full-size Vesalius images, animations, or videos that correspond to the links on your Personal Thumbnails page, all placed on a single page in the sequence you specify. Your own Notes are presented below each image, in place of the Vesalius text that normally accompanies the image in its narrative. Your Presentations can hold as many frames as you like, allowing you to click down the page from frame to frame as you give your presentation. The frame headings above each frame are numbered sequentially, with titles that you provide. To create a Presentation, add at least one link to your Personal Thumbnails page, then follow the instructions provided on that page.

You can also use the thumbnail images on your Personal Thumbnails page to build Quizzes. A Quiz is an ordered set of Vesalius images, animations, or movies, presented on a single page as a series of thumbnails. Clicking any thumbnail pops open a full-size version of the image in a separate smaller window, along with icons that you can drag and drop to point out structures or techniques. Each thumbnail is accompanied by a question or statement that you provide. Your Quiz can be viewed by any Vesalius subscriber that you provide with the Quiz's title and numerical access code.

For each "frame" in your Quiz (i.e. each combination of one thumbnail image and your accompanying question or statement), you can provide up to five multiple-choice responses for the viewers of your Quiz to select from. At any point in time, you can review the cumulative responses provided by the viewers of your Quiz. Since you are free to use statements instead of questions when building your Quiz, and since you don't need to use the question/answer capability, you can also use the Quiz feature to build your own educational narrative from a series of Vesalius images or movies.

You build a Quiz from your Quiz-Builder page. To add a frame from your Personal Thumbnails page to your Quiz-Builder page, click the "Include?" checkbox at the far right side of the row containing its thumbnail image. After you have selected the frames you want, click the "Update Thumbnails, Presentation, and Quiz-Builder Pages" button beneath the last thumbnail row. The following page will ask you to provide a title for this new Quiz, and then forward you to your Quiz-Builder page.

Subscriber Demographics

The primary audience for the Vesalius website is the emerging generation of physicians – the medical students, resident physicians, and practicing MDs who are currently studying surgical anatomy and techniques. By providing detailed narratives on surgical procedures and anatomy, as well as access to over 15,000 medical images and videos, Vesalius attracts the generation of students and young physicians that turns to the Internet first for almost any informational need.

Accordingly, slightly over half of the traffic on the Vesalius site is generated by universities and medical schools, with the remainder divided primarily among hospitals/medical centers, corporations, and consumers. Well over 1,000 medical institutions and universities in over 200 countries have made extensive use of the Vesalius site since its launch in early 1998.


"Dispel from your mind the thought that an understanding of the human body in every aspect of its structure can be given in words; the more thoroughly you describe the more you will confuse... I advise you not to trouble with words unless you are speaking to blind men."

–Leonardo da Vinci

As a pioneering student of human anatomy, a world-class scientist, and one of history's greatest artists, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) understood in a fundamental way that the sophistication and beauty of human anatomy can be communicated far more effectively with images than with words.

What Leonardo approached from the surface, Flemish anatomist and artist Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) studied from a deeper and more rigorous perspective. As the father of modern gross anatomy, Vesalius was the first to use dissection and direct observation as the foundation for his scientific analysis.

An excellent artist in his own right, Vesalius illustrated his early work himself. In producing his major work, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Vesalius was eager to disseminate his knowledge of anatomy as widely as possible. Toward this end, he sought artistic talent comparable in quality to the information he had developed, and employed the talents of Jan van Kalkar (a student of Titian) to create his illustrations. Four hundred years after its publication, De Humani Corporis Fabrica stands as an instantly recognizable landmark of the collaboration between art and science.

Vesalius Mission

Our mission at Vesalius is to carry the pioneering tradition established by Vesalius and Leonardo into the 21st century, by creating a state-of-the-art online resource for surgical education.

In accordance with Leonardo's insight, Vesalius relies primarily on graphical communications to explore and explain concepts in surgical anatomy, pathology and intervention.

By providing a continuously updated resource that utilizes a full range of graphical and interactive formats, we hope to make Vesalius a focal point on the Internet for the dissemination of surgical information and understanding.

Vesalius Studios

14 Kennebec Dr.
Durango, CO  81301

This page was last modified on 7-Nov-2019.