Mastering human anatomy is one of the most difficult challenges in medical school and throughout a physician’s career. From Modality Inc. comes the Thieme Atlas of Anatomy app to help medical students learn and physicians review human anatomy.

This app is based on the paperback atlas of the same name. It is not a standalone app; it must be purchased within the ModalityBODY app for $74.99.

The ModalityBODY app is a free app that contains other anatomy and imaging apps available for purchase, compatible with iPad only.

Upon entering the app, the user is greeted by a menu of different anatomical areas to explore, including back, thorax, abdomen and pelvis, upper limb, lower limb, head and neck, and neuroanatomy. From there, the user can select either Images or Pages in the upper right hand corner. Selecting Pages will allow you to peruse the app as if you were reading the book, while Images allow you to study one image at a time and test your knowledge.

For the purposes of this app review, I will focus on the abdomen and pelvis section. I studied this area first in Page mode. After selecting Abdomen & Pelvis from the welcome screen, you will see several thumbnails of pages you may choose from. You may scroll through the pages to jump to a specific structure. The table of contents also lists all of your options.

pelvis1stscreen

The pages are typical of any anatomy atlas, including labeled structures, tables, and information about clinical correlations. Occasional radiographs are also shown.

malefemalepelvis pelvicgirdlepage

From the bottom of any page, you may scroll to the next or previous page using the arrow buttons, or jump to another page using the thumbnails. The thumbnail images are difficult to see; they will enlarge when you tap and hold them, but I found it difficult and often frustrating to select exactly the page I wanted. You may also select the index to search for a particular structure.

thumbnail
index

After studying the Pages, you may quiz yourself over each image in Image mode. By default, structures are tagged with pins. Tapping a pin tells you the name of the structure. You may also pin and label your own structures, or view the image without pins. One extremely neat feature is the ability to acquire more information about a structure via Google, Wikipedia, or PubMed right within the app. However, I found this mode to be slightly buggy; parts of other random images would show up behind the image I was trying to view (as seen in the screenshots). This was slightly distracting and annoying, though fairly easy to ignore. Perhaps Modality will fix this with a future update.

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pancreaspin pancreaswiki

While studying an image, you can easily refer to its corresponding page in the atlas by tapping “Page” in the upper right hand corner. Also in the corner is a gold button labeled “Practice,” which will prompt you to find structures on that image at random. Tapping the pins will then give you feedback on whether you selected the correct or incorrect structure.

acetabularmargin

Though not perfect, this app is a fun and interactive way to learn and review human anatomy.

Likes:

  • Decent images
  • Interactive
  • Ability to study the book pages of the atlas, then quiz yourself with images only
  • Features Google, Wikipedia, and PubMed searches within the app

Dislikes:

  • Very expensive, especially for a medical student
  • A few bugs in Image mode with overlapping images
  • User interface needs some improvement
  • Not compatible with iPhone and iPod touch
  • Must be purchased within the ModalityBODY app

Conclusion:

  • The Thieme Atlas of Anatomy app makes good use of the iPad’s large screen size and rich color imaging.
  • The app is fun and fairly user friendly, though parts of the user interface could use improvement (such as the thumbnails at the bottom of each page).
  • I especially liked the ability to quiz myself using the pins in Image mode and using the Practice mode to quiz myself at random.
  • This app is useful for medical students and physicians alike, though I imagine its main appeal would be to medical students.
  • However, at the steep price of $74.99, many people, especially students, would likely hesitate to purchase it, particularly with the paperback version available for $54 on Amazon

iTunes Link