Recently we wrote about how Apple had been prominently featuring a new radiology anatomy learning app in its iPad commercials. The app featured is Monster Anatomy – Lower limb, by Monster Media Minds.

This medical app provides cross sectional, coronal, and sagital views of radiographic anatomy images – similar to those you would find when learning Gross Anatomy.  Make sure to check out the video review that we have done that is embedded in this post.

Most interesting feature of the application:

The ability to see different slices of anatomy sequentially by using the flick of a finger – essentially, you are able to follow certain anatomic structures as you view different cross sectional slices of anatomy. Obviously, this is the feature Apple shows off in it’s commercials and is probably one of the main reasons Apple featured the medical app.

What I liked about the app:

*Reference the “Most interesting feature ” mentioned above and shown prominently in our video review.

*Identifies bones, joints, muscles, nerves, and vessels – basically all the key anatomy you need to know.

*Has a pseudo “study mode” – does not identify anatomy unless you touch a highlighted option.

*Ability to smoothly follow key anatomy is invaluable – not only great for learning, but this makes the app useful for patient education as well.  We give examples of how this can be utilized in our video review.

*User interface is smooth, aesthetically pleasing, and intuitive.

What I didn’t like about the app:

*Shows only half of the anatomical plane for certain body structures. When reading CT/MRI images, you are obviously seeing full cross sectional images – and as these pictures show, thats obviously not the case here. This is a bit puzzling and obviously doesn’t help if you are trying to use the app to practice CT/MRI image reading, where symmetry is essential in learning.

*Only lower limb is available – granted, you do have access to the Pelvis, but the way you learn gross anatomy – in sections, makes this app incomplete. E.g. For the musculoskeletal / extremities portion of gross anatomy, this app would leave you out in the cold by not including the arms. It would also be useless for other blocks: head and neck, abdomen, back, etc.

*As our video review shows, the application has a tendency to crash with heavy usage.  Hopefully this will be addressed in future updates.

Who is it for:

Physicians: this app could be used by physicians in order to show patients musculoskeletal disease pathologies. If a patient has a leg fracture, tore their ACL, or is having sciatic nerve related pain, this app could be used to identify the key anatomy associated with the disease pathologies.  Other examples of patient usage are mentioned in the video review.

Medical students: Obviously, this app could be used for gross anatomy learning. A significant portion of gross anatomy is learning how to identify anatomy using cross sectional images, laying the foundation for being able to read CT and MRI scans. However, there are some pitfalls for this app which are mentioned prior, such as the “half screen view”.

Conclusion:

This is a beautifully made application that has a fantastic user interface.  The ability to see different slices of anatomy sequentially using the flick of a finger – shown prominently in the Apple commercials for the iPad – is a nice feature. However, the limited anatomy featured (only lower limb) and only showing half of the cross sectional image on hip anatomy makes the app less suited for significant gross anatomy learning.  However, even with these flaws, this radiology anatomy learning / viewing application is still clearly the best one of its kind for the iPad, and with some updates could be a must have application for anyone learning gross anatomy, or for those wishing to use it for patient education.

iTunes Link: Monster Anatomy HD – Lower Limb
Price: $18.99
Platform: iPad, and separate version customized for the iPhone and iPod Touch