Feb 20, 2013 by 
Here at iMedicalApps, we are big fans of any tools that make our lives as physicians and medical students easier.The introduction of the iPad and the subsequent development of novel three-dimensional anatomy apps has no doubt improved the anatomy education of medical students and clinicians alike.One of the major developers in this area is 3D4Medical.

They are well known for their NOVA series and also their specialist joint focus series. One of the biggest criticisms of their apps to date has been their focus on specific anatomical systems or regions.

However, that is set to change as they have just released a new app called Essential Anatomy. The app features a custom built 3D graphics engine with multiple anatomical systems. iMedicalApps has had pre-release access to this app and is pleased to report that it is an impressive step forward for 3D4Medical.

The biggest difference between Essential Anatomy and other NOVA apps is the introduction of a true 3D model. It is now possible to rotate, pan and zoom around a virtual model using simple touch gestures. 3D4Medical has built their 3D engine from the ground up and it includes a number of innovative features common to their other apps.

For example, it is possible to add or subtract various layers using the scalpel function. Users can select which systems they want to include from arterial, nervous or venous, to muscle and other connective tissue.



The quality of the virtual model is impressive to say the least and the overall ease of use is very high.


Useful features include the ability to fade structures to see different anatomical relationships. Alternatively, the ability to fade every other structure which neatly highlights the selected structure is also possible.

Users can select multiple structures and isolate them to be observed in their own unique 3D environment. Alternatively tapping the little ‘i’ button next to each structure shows multiple thumbnail views of the selected structure isolated.



Users can either browse with the model or use a selection of preloaded anatomical regions. One of my favorite features is the ability to add your own pre-created anatomical region. This is sure to have numerous uses for educators. Furthermore, features we have come to expect from these advanced anatomy apps include a useful quiz function, inbuilt pronunciation as well as screenshot and annotation functionality.


The major omissions from this version of Essential Anatomy include visceral structures and lymphatic structures, although, 3D4Medical is working on including these. It should be pointed out that the systems included are incredibly detailed and anatomically accurate.



  • Expected to be $29.99


  • Excellent user interface
  • Features such as ability to ‘fade others’ to highlight particular structures
  • Ability to isolate various anatomical regions and isolated thumbnails of each structure


  • No visceral anatomy/lymph anatomy yet


  • Essential Anatomy by 3D4Medical is another strong step forward for the company and anatomy apps in general. The 3D anatomy engine and impressive graphics bring a new clarity to anatomy education with impressive accuracy. The addition of further anatomical systems such as the digestive or urological system will continue to enhance the utility of this impressive app.

iTunes Link

Rating: (1 to 5 stars): 5/5

  • User interface – 5
  • Multimedia usage – 5
  • Price – 5
  • Real world applicability – 5

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