AnatomyLab (v.1.0) is an app made by AnatomyLab.com Inc and costs $9.99. It walks you through a complete dissection of a male cadaver. In the field of anatomy review, there seem to be an ever increasing number of applications in the App Store. AnatomyLab hopes to differentiate itself with its unique approach to gross anatomy learning. This review will discuss some of the novel teaching methods employed by this this Anatomy medical app.
Any physician that has gone through medical school can tell you about their first experience in the cadaver lab. Generally, the learning curve is steep during gross anatomy and often times your cadaver lab experience lasts only a few short months. This app will brings those experiences back and if you’re lucky enough to find this app before classes start, it will help guide you through those experiences.
Wow! This app is real. There is only so much an artist’s rendition can show, and this app goes the extra mile by bringing you a true, full human dissection. It may take some time to familiarize yourself with the features of this app, but it’s well worth it.
For example, when viewing the dissection, double clicking highlights your anatomy of interest. Then, you can click on the “info” button, causing extra information about your highlighted anatomy to show. Some of the extra information shown is: muscle origin, insertion, actions, blood supply and innervation. In this menu you can also edit a custom user “notes” section in order to manually add more information about your anatomy of interest. This app is easier to use than an anatomy atlas, flash card, or dissector manual, and in fits in the palm of your hand.
For now, just a male cadaver, so if you had hopes of seeing an ovary or uterus, no luck here. Also, it doesn’t include brain anatomy (no explaining to Bobby Boucher where exactly that medulla oblongata is).
Navigating through dissection layers is supposed to be made easier by using gestures (for example, a two finger swipe up or down dissects up or down), however, too often when I’m attempting to go up a layer, I end up scrolling on the current image instead. Maybe I just need to practice my two finger swipes. I’d rather be able to hold down on the layer label located in the top left of the screen in order to scroll up or down different layers of anatomy.
Initially, I was not a fan of the navigation (you can probably tell from above, and initially this bullet was listed in the cons section). When you first open the app you’re greeted by some helpful hints about buttons and gestures, and then the “enter AnatomyLab” button brings up a list of different layers to view (refer to pictures). These layers start out labeled plainly, “skin, hypodermis, etc…” however it soon becomes less descriptive, “muscles and vessels” have 13 layers, with no difference in naming besides “muscles and vessels 4” vs “muscles and vessels 13”. Initially, I thought this lack of detailed description could cause some confusion.
After further use though, I realized that like in real life, you see different views of the same anatomy in multiple layers. This application replicates the real life experience of gross anatomy. Underneath the layer selector you get a very detailed explanation of what they dissected through to get to the current view, basically walking you through the entire dissection.
Once you actually click on the “view cadaver” button, this app comes to life. You can zoom and drag as you would expect. On top of that, you finally get access to the “search mode” button, enabling you to search by body part.
When I realized this app is more geared towards helping you through a dissection, rather than being just an anatomy atlas, I found myself enjoying it much more. The greatness of this application is the extra information it gives and this is something a simple atlas can’t even beat.
Who should buy this app?
- This app is priceless for any student taking anatomy & physiology, especially with a lab (which makes good sense considering it’s named, “AnatomyLab”).
- Surgeons, pathologists or any other person that deals with anatomy on a daily basis.
- Students or interns who are rotating onto a surgical service.
Will I use this very often during clinical rotations or in practice? Probably not, but I’ll definitely use and enjoy the heck out of it when I need to review anatomy.