The Neurosurgical Atlas Launches Free Mobile Application for iOS and Android

Samuel B. Tomlinson, 1,2 Benjamin K. Hendricks, 1 Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol 1,3

  1. Neurosurgical Atlas , Indianapolis, Indiana
  2. School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
  3. Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine, Indianapolis, Indiana

The Neurosurgical Atlas is excited to announce the release of a free, searchable, high-performance mobile application for iOS and Android devices. These apps reflect the unwavering commitment of the Atlas to be the most advanced worldwide platform for microneurosurgical techniques.

The Atlas is a premier online resource for multimedia educational content on microneurosurgery [1]. Since its internet launch in 2016, the website has published an unparalleled collection of intraoperative case videos, grand round webinars, illustrations, 3D anatomic models, and text chapters (“Volumes”) designed to benefit neurosurgeons of all training levels. The Atlas maintains official partnerships with the Journal of Neurosurgery and Operative Neurosurgery

and frequently links to their content [1]. The reach of the Atlas is truly international, with more than

2/3 of its views originating outside of the United States [2]. The web-version of the Atlas accumulated nearly 250,000 visits between June 2016 and August 2017 [2]. The majority of site visitors (53%) are

18-35 years old, an audience that likely includes a large number of medical students, neurosurgery

residents, fellows, and early-career surgeons poised to benefit from its educational content.

The Atlas currently features more than 300 chapters in the Volumes section, > 9,000 illustrations,

1,200 videos, and > 150 grand round webinars from renowned experts such as James T. Rutka, William T. Couldwell, Juan Carlos Fernandez-Miranda, Dennis Spencer, Robert Spetzler, and many others. This entire digital collection has been incorporated into the mobile app, which is currently available for free download in the iTunes and Google Play stores. The organization of the mobile app parallels the desktop version, ensuring a seamless transition between devices. Content is organized by media format (i.e., Volumes, Cases, and Grand Rounds) and by sub-specialty topic. A side-by-side comparison of the desktop and mobile homepages is presented in Figure 1. Several representative images from the mobile app are shown in Figure 2.

Videos 1 and 2 depict a typical user experience within the mobile app. The app can be

comprehensively searched by topic or keyword using either text or natural spoken language commands. The native design facilitates efficient navigation of all content. Videos can be displayed in full-screen with adjustment of playback speed and resolution.

An exciting recent development by the Atlas team is the creation of several ultra-realistic, immersive, three-dimensional virtual models featuring critical aspects of operative neurosurgical anatomy [3-6]. These models were developed using patient imaging data and can be viewed

interactively within the mobile app. Currently, the Atlas includes virtual models for the operating room set-up, skull anatomy, cerebrovascular system, brainstem, and cavernous sinus (Video 2). Early research comparing the educational value of these 3D virtual resources to more conventional textbook materials has been promising, with > 90% of residents preferring to study with the virtual platform when learning intricate temporal bone anatomy [5].

Neurosurgical training is rapidly evolving. Recent improvements in computer technologies allow us to deliver unprecedented educational content to learners on-the-go, whether commuting to work, studying over lunch, or hustling between surgical cases. The development of a mobile application avails users of the Neurosurgical Atlas wherever and whenever they need it. We anticipate that this new resource will provide tremendous value to users of all training levels.


Dr. Cohen-Gadol is President and Founder of the Neurosurgical Atlas . Dr. Hendricks is an executive member of the Board of Directors of the Atlas and oversees strategic planning. Mr. Tomlinson is a contributor to the Atlas . The industry sponsor of the Atlas mobile apps is Olympus America.

Figure and Video Legends:


Figure 1. Screenshots of The Neurosurgical Atlas homepages for the desktop (left; Apple Safari

v12.1) and mobile app (right; Apple iOS 12.2) versions of the site. Content is organized into Volumes, Cases, and Grand Rounds sections. The app preserves the organizational structure of the desktop version. Presented with permission from The Neurosurgical Atlas , by Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD.


Figure 2. Representative content from The Neurosurgical Atlas mobile app. (A) ‘Volume’ chapter providing an overview of CNS Lymphoma. (B) Operative case video describing technical nuances of MCA aneurysm clipping. (C) Grand Rounds webinar entitled: “Endoscopic Endonasal Surgery: Craniopharyngiomas,” with Juan Carlos Fernandez-Miranda, MD, and Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD. Presented with permission from The Neurosurgical Atlas , by Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD.


Video 1. Typical user experience within The Neurosurgical Atlas mobile app (Example #1). Navigation to the “Pterional Craniotomy: Nuances and Pitfalls” operative video via keyword search is demonstrated. Specifications: Neurosurgical Atlas mobile app version 1.9.5; Apple iOS 12.2. Video has sound. Presented with permission from The Neurosurgical Atlas , by Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD.


Video 2. Typical user experience within The Neurosurgical Atlas mobile app (Example #3). Interaction with 3D digital model of the cavernous sinus is demonstrated. The model can be freely rotated, translated, and zoomed. Specifications: Neurosurgical Atlas mobile app version 1.9.5; Apple iOS 12.2. Video does not have sound. Presented with permission from The Neurosurgical Atlas , by Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD.



[1] Rutka JT. Mastering the art of complex neurosurgical procedures: The Neurosurgical Atlas and the

Journal of Neurosurgery . J Neurosurg 2017, 126: 1029-32.

[2] Davidson B, Alotaibi NM, Hendricks BK, Cohen-Gadol AA. Popularity of online multimedia educational resources in neurosurgery: insights from The Neurosurgical Atlas project. J Surg Educ

2018, 75(6): 1615-23.

[3] Hendricks BK, Patel AJ, Hartman J, Seifert MF, Cohen-Gadol A. Operative anatomy of the human skull: a virtual reality expedition. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2018, 15(4): 368-377.

[4] Hendricks BK, Hartman J, Seifert M, Cohen-Gadol AA. Introduction of a new interactive paradigm to define the next generation of visualization in neurosurgical anatomy. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2018, 15(4): 365-7.

[5] Morone PJ, Shah KJ, Hendricks BK, Cohen-Gadol AA. Virtual, 3-dimensional temporal bone model and its educational value for neurosurgical trainees. World Neurosurg 2019, 122:e1412-15.

[6] Hendricks BK, Hartman J, Cohen-Gadol AA. Cerebrovascular operative anatomy: an immersive

3D and virtual reality description. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2018, 15(6): 613-23.


Correspondence :

Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD, MSc, MBA Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine

Department of Neurological Surgery, Indiana University

355 W 16 th Street, Suite 5100, Indianapolis, IN 46202


May 26, 2019


August 2022