|Hungry for Apple|
|Friday, 01 October 2010|
Many of us, these days, will own an Apple product, whether it’s the iPod, iPhone or iPad. Two million iPads were sold in the first 59 days following their release and more and more PC users are switching to Apple Mac computers, which some are calling the ‘iPhone effect’.
Historically, most surgeons were concerned about owning a Mac due to the dominance of Microsoft Windows in our hospitals. All that changed with the arrival of programs that allow you to run windows on your Mac in a separate desktop window. The medical world’s appetite for their products has grown so much that Apple has now launched its own medical site (www.apple.com/science/medicine/), but the following are two software programs that are good reasons to own a Mac.
Papers Version 1.9.4
‘Papers lets you view, browse and search your PDF library, iTunes-style’
How many of us are slowly collecting a library of medical literature as Portable Document Format (PDF) files? Most publishing houses will not only publish a paper journal but also provide PDF copies online. There are many other ways to gain access to these electronic PDFs; via Athens, bundled with your journals, or through your medical library.
Papers allow you to read PDF articles on a full screen and multiple articles can be opened in different tabs for uncluttered reading. There is a search function for browsing PubMed, Google Scholar or other repositories directly from within the program. It’s possible to organise your library by topic, project or anything else, with the help of manual and smart collections. Papers also supports Spotlight – a feature of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system allowing you to search all the files on your computer. Selected articles can be read anywhere by syncing your library with Papers for iPhone or iPad.
Single user license for the Apple Mac: £25
iPhone and iPad App: £8.99
Osirix Version 3.7.1
‘Allows you to make 3D reconstructions from your DICOM data without a radiologist’
Osirix is an image-processing program that allows you to view DICOM images in 2D but also construct 3D images. In its simplest form it will view plain films on your Apple Mac and will also view a CT or MRI. I use it to view maxillofacial trauma and deformity to make 3D reconstructions before surgery.
First you have to get your DICOM data by getting your CT (conventional or cone beam) or MRI burnt on to a disc. All hospital radiology departments with PACS will be able to do that, as it’s the present means of transferring images from one hospital to another. Osirix will then take the DICOM data and either act as a conventional viewer or construct 3D images. Changing the settings will allow you to highlight the soft tissue or boney aspect of the image. These images can be saved as JPEG files or movies. As with Papers, there is now the option of syncing these images with your iPhone or iPad. Recently, a Japanese team of surgeons used an iPad wrapped in sterile plastic and running Osirix (http://tiny.cc/372zn). The surgeons were able to manipulate the images of the patient to aid in identifying normal anatomy and the neoplastic lesion they were excising.
Free and open source
iPhone and iPad App: £11.99
Nicholas Lee, Oral and Maxillofacial Registrar, Pan Thames Rotation