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Surg Innov. 2014 Apr 7;21(4):427-440. [Epub ahead of print]

Surgical Smartphone Applications Across Different Platforms: Their Evolution, Uses, and Users.

Author information

  • 1Imperial College London, London, UK m.kulendran09@imperial.ac.uk.
  • 2St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.
  • 3Imperial College London, London, UK.


Introduction. There are a vast array of smartphone applications that could benefit both surgeons and their patients. To review and identify all relevant surgical smartphone applications available for the Apple iPhone iOS and Google Android platform based on their user group and subspecialty for which they were designed. Method. Both the literature using PubMed and Google Scholar were searched using the following terms: application$, smartphone$, app$, app*, surgery, surgical, surg*, general surgery, general surg*, bariatric$, urology and plastic surgery, ortho*, orthop(a)edic, cardiac surgery, cardiothoracic, neurosurgery, and ophthalmology. Results. The search yielded 38 articles of which 23 were eligible. Each of the key specialties was searched in the Apple iTunes App Store for iPhone iOS and the Google Play Android application store. In total, there were 621 surgical applications for Apple iPhone iOS and 97 identified on Android's Google Play. There has been a 9-fold increase in the number of surgical applications available for the Apple iPhone iOS from 2009 to 2012. Of these applications there were 126 dedicated to plastic surgery, 79 to orthopedics, 41 to neurosurgical, 180 to general surgery, 36 to cardiac surgery, 121 to ophthalmology, and 44 to urology. There was a wide range of applications ranging from simple flashcards to be used for revision to virtual surgery applications that provided surgical exposure and familiarization with common operative procedures. Conclusions. Despite the plethora of surgical applications available for smartphones, there is no taxonomy for medical applications. Only 12% were affiliated with an academic institution or association, which highlights the need for greater regulation of surgical applications.

© The Author(s) 2014.


breast surgery; colorectal surgery; neurosurgery; orthopedic surgery; simulation; surgical education

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