iPad-Based Navigation Apps That Help Doctors In Surgery


Medical centers and hospitals have shown increasing support for tablet devices such as the popular iPad. They are widely used by doctors in dispensing their diagnosis and treatment routines and surgeons in performing critical surgery procedures. Currently, iPad have many medical apps related to patient education, radiology images review and electronic medical data / record entry. The larger screen size and portability makes the device ideal to assist doctors and surgeons in many different and useful ways.

iPod Touch in the Surgery Room
Reports have been flashed in the news how a surgeon performed a pinless knee replacement surgery using an iPod-based navigation system which enabled him to check surgical incisions, base his surgical decisions and keeping a more accurate and precise instrument manipulation for less invasive work. The iPod Touch was encased in a sterile cradle where the surgeon can easily and conveniently check his surgical procedure from time to time. Probes were attached to the device which made millisecond calculations. An in-depth 3D view of the inside of the patient’s knee provided the surgeon a clear picture that he is in the right path for placing an implant in the knee.

Traditionally, surgeons try to eyeball it until they get into the right placement position. With the iPod, the surgeon was able to take the correct path based on the device’s accurate measurements. The iPod’s navigation system allowed the surgeon to accurately target the intended area. iPod app’s surgical success owe it to the other instruments that were attached to it like the probes, an iPad and the navigating camera on wheels which provided the surgeon with precise visualization of where he is operating. While other navigation systems exist, most of them are big, hard to move around and expensive. iPads are also particularly helpful where the patient’s anatomy is difficult to see.

iPad in a Medical Setting
Apple might have not predicted the support it will get from the medical industry but the use of the device within the medical setting has incredibly reduced hospital administrative and medical costs; educated patients and created more eco-friendly clinics and offices. iPad applications developed for healthcare use include the Dash, a recently used app in knee surgery replacement; Heart Chart, which allows surgeons to document the surgery through graphics and text; Campbell’s Orthopedics which provides orthopedic surgical technique text and videos, and many more.

Dash Joint Replacement App
This application provides the portable navigation system that can run on devices like the iPod Touch and iPad designed to help orthopedic surgeons in performing hip joint or knee replacement surgery with high precision and accuracy. There are additional surgical and non-surgical equipment or devices required to be attached to the iPod / iPadfor use in the surgical room. Intended to enhance the benefits of traditional surgical navigation, this app is a cost-effective and convenient surgery tool to use.

The touch screen interface works remotely with the iPod/iPad platform and navigational high-resolution camera to give the surgeons both intuitive and accurate guidance though the different stages of the procedure. It has the ability to make adjustments to the surgery instrumentsneeded to provide the surgeon with a highly accurate and portable assistive tool allowing the precise placement of hip implants and artificial knee.

Heart Chart
This application allows the surgeons to document the open heart surgery procedure performed, textually and graphically including valves, bypass grafts and other common types of open heart surgery procedures. Documented Heart Chart includes a time stamp serving as the case identifier. The documented file can be saved on the iPaddevice or uploaded to any cloud account for future accessing and referencing.

Campbell’s Orthopedics
This application designed for orthopedic surgeons was one of the early textbooks converted to app format which allows surgeons to navigate through 242 techniques in 20 video clips and 1000 images on the touch screen interface, bookmark surgical techniques for future reference and a comprehensive search system that quickly locates surgical techniques within the application.

Mobile MIM &OsiriX HD
These are iPad X-ray viewing apps commonly required by surgeons as and when the need to access the imaging data during the surgery arises. Surgical procedures are dependent on cross sectional images and having a device that will allow them to check MRI or CT scan is a very helpful way for pre-surgery procedure. Mobile MIM allows imaging data to be uploaded on the device or cloud service to be viewed before, during and after the procedure. OsiriX HD on the other hand is another iPad app that requires a WiFi connection to OsiriX -a remarkable free & open-source Macintosh desktop imaging data reader application. This app can also interface with a hospital imaging data server to access the images directly but hospital approval for access is required.

AO Surgery Reference / AO Classification of Fractures
This application is for orthopedic surgeons providing care for trauma patients which provide management of surgical fracture. This includes classification of treatment algorithms and fracture scheme. This iPad app allows surgeons to have access to much of the surgical knowledge for referencing during clinical work. Another app built within the AO Surgery Reference, converts complicated fracture classification into simple screens and touch control.

The Future
An increasing number of iPad apps for surgeons have been developed and distributed in the medical industry allowing performance of procedures in a more accurate and precise manner. As technology continues to advance in the medical field, more medical and surgical applications are expected to be introduced aimed at making complex or complicated procedures easier for more successful results.

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