Review of iSpine Operations app for iPhone and iPad

Spine surgery can be difficult to understand and anxiety inducing for patients. Compared to surgery on the extremities, many patients have difficulty understanding the anatomy or the surgeon’s described procedure. Knowledge is power and having a greater understanding of the procedure can greatly benefit the patient.

Anatomate-Apps has created an app, iSpine Operations, that aims to provide patients with an overview of surgical spine procedures. Based around video animations, the app demonstrates that a picture really is a thousand words. The app has a simple design but contains an impressive amount of information.


User Interface


The mobile app opens with a list of sections on a “Main Menu” page. There is a list of spine operations in alphabetical order. The user can scroll through and select the procedure of interest. The greatest utility would be a surgeon that uses the app to educate a patient or a patient that brings the app to their clinic appointment to discuss with the surgeon.


The app includes many common procedures including, but not limited to, fusions, decompressions, discectomy, approaches, and bone harvest. Lumbar decompression is a common procedure for spinal stenosis. The app has, for example, three sub-sections related to the lumbar decompression procedure.

LD info

Selecting the foraminotomy procedure, under lumbar decompression, opens a text description describing the purpose of the procedure. There are short videos that demonstrate the ‘goals’ of the procedure and longer ‘technique’ videos that demonstrate how the procedure is performed. Selected from the videos are high resolution ‘Key Images’ the user can review for greater understanding. Finally, under the Documentation section is a notes document that goes into greater detail on the described procedure.


  • Price
    • $84.99
    • Well-researched information throughout the application.
    • Great use of multimedia to enhance understanding.
    • Simple user interface and navigation throughout the app.
  • Dislikes
    • Extremely expensive, but we go into this in further detail below.
    • Size of the app ~1.35Gb.
  • Overall

    This is an excellent app for educating patients on spine surgery but very expensive.  It’s definitely not worth a download by patients due to it’s expense.  The best way to utilize this app might be to give patients an iPhone or iPad in your practice, select their possible surgical procedure, and then let them view the details from there.

    Before physicians download this for patient education, they should look at the less expensive apps available from Human Media (development company behind this app) — this is an iTunes link that will provide a list of those apps.

    In particular, check out their Lumbar Laminectomy app that is only $2.99, to get an example of their overall patient education process.  Again, we don’t recommend patient’s download the main app due to price, and physicians should check out the cheaper apps from Human Media first before pulling the trigger on the $84.99 app.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Very easy app to use.

  • Multimedia Usage

    Excellent use of multimedia.

  • Price
  • Real World Applicability

    If used the right way, can help physicians teach patients about spine surgery.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 5

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad