By Joesph Sujka MD
Review of BioDigital Human for iPhone and Android
Obviously, one of the keys to being a great surgeon is having a detailed grasp of anatomy. With the advent of 3D modeling, a reusable digital cadaver became an eventuality, however none have been used routinely by surgical residents. This could be due to the limited amount of detail in today’s digital cadavers or the belief in the surgical community that a digital cadaver can never replace hands on surgical experience. The BioDigital Human app attempts to be a 3D modeling app that can be used for anatomy and learning pathology.
When first opening BioDigital Human there are several example 3D models. These are included in the free package but to get access to the full catalog of 3D models, an in-app purchase for a subscription is necessary. These plans range from $20/year to $50/year, with access to mobile or mobile and web. To download new models simply press Download. Here you can select models based on Anatomical system, Conditions, or Community. Community is useful if you are part of a group plan because you can share annotated models with others.
Models load quickly (on my iPhone 6) and the Digestive system is presented here as an example. Various hand gestures are used to navigate the application. Pinch to zoom, dragging a single finger rotates the model, and two fingers lets you pan throughout. Once an organ is selected, a scrollable text box appears in the bottom of the screen giving a summary of the organ’s functions. If a 3D model associated with a condition is selected, a summary of the disease is presented here. You can expand any of the explanations to fill the page which loads the organ or disease’s Wikipedia page
Once an organ is selected, you can tap on the pencil icon in the top-right corner for tools. The first tool available is the Quiz function, and there are two types of quizzes: Multiple Choice (Easy) and Find Anatomy (Hard). Search, the next function, lists all the structures available for that organ system. This is a quick way to bring into focus the portion of an organ you’re looking for. Layers and Views are the next options. These let you crop out certain portions of an organ system narrowing your view to only musculoskeletal components or only integumentary, etc. Views let you isolate an organ or change to an X-ray view which shows only bones.