Purpose of App Review

  • How useful is this app as a replacement for the physical version of the textbook?


McGraw Hill released an app version of Zollinger’s Atlas of Surgical Operation (9th edition)–a textbook that has long been considered one of the gold standards for surgical atlases.

The app includes all of the content in the actual textbook, as well as all of the great illustrated diagrams of surgical procedures and anatomy.

User Interface

The app opens up with a list of chapters sorted by anatomical region as seen in the picture below.
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After choosing a chapter, there are several subsections to choose from depending on the topic desired. The main screen also has an option to look at the index that sorts each topic covered in the book alphabetically. There is also a very fast search function for quick access.

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Each section includes the same text that is found in the physical version of the textbook. In the app version, the user has the ability to bookmark specific sections as well as add notes to these sections. From the main page, the user can go back to sections based on bookmarks or by searching the notes that were made.

However, it should be noted that notes and bookmarks can only be made for sections, but cannot be placed anywhere within the text. For example, if the user is reading the section on gastrojejunostomy (which includes the subsections titled indications, preoperative preparations, anesthesia, etc) a bookmark or note will be added to the overall section of gastrojejunostomy rather than a specific subsection or a specific place within the text. This app also does not include the ability to highlight, which is a feature that many users may desire since they can do that with a physical version.

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Each section also includes the elaborate and colorful images on surgical procedures and anatomy that is included within the physical version. The user can also click on the images to get a zoomed in or full screen view.

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Another thing to note is that this book is available on Amazon.com for $210.98 as of 12/10/2013 which is $40 cheaper than the app.


  • $249.99


  • The app includes all of the text and images that are included in the physical version
  • Images can be clicked on to be viewed full screen or to zoom in on
  • Very fast searching using the index and/or search function


  • Cannot add notes or bookmarks wherever the user desires
  • Cannot highlight text
  • The app costs more than the physical book

Healthcare workers that would benefit from the app

  • Medical students, surgery residents and surgery fellows would find this app useful.


  • This app is the electronic version of the gold standard textbook used in surgical training. It is a good alternative for those who do not want to carry around a bulky textbook or those who want a quick reference on the go by looking at their iPad. However, the app version does cost more than the physical textbook and does not offer the ability to highlight text. There are also limitations to note taking and bookmarking which are important for this type of text. There is no Android version of the app available as of publish.

iTunes Link 

References: N/A

Type of Device used to review app–iPad 2
Version of App–1.4

Rating: (1 to 5 stars): 3.25/5

  1. User Interface: 3/5 – Easy to use and navigate. Could improve on functions available such as note taking, bookmarking and the addition of highlighting.
  2. Multimedia usage: 5/5 – Great images as found in the textbook. Ability to view full screen images is a great advantage of the app
  3. Price: 1/5- The app costs more than the physical textbook and does not allow the user to do the same tasks that they could do with a physical version such as highlight text.
  4. Real world applicability: 4/5 – This app is great to use for medical students as well as surgery residents and fellows. This is a good app to have to study for procedures as well as for quick reference prior to entering the operating room when carrying a bulky textbook is not feasible.

This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the app’s validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.