Campbell’s is the first orthopaedic text book that has transitioned to the digital age! The app is not the complete 4-volume text, rather this is “core techniques,” which includes brief summaries of 242 common surgical and bedside procedures accompanied by images and videos. The app is divided into the four volumes of the full book with their corresponding subheadings. For example, the app includes 26 surgical approaches, such as removal of iliac bone graft, anterolateral approach to the humerus, and z-plasty. Most descriptions are brief with 2-5 images, and would serve as a “refresher” for a senior resident or surgeon familiar with a procedure, or as an introduction for a medical student or junior resident who needs a quick orientation before a case. However, in addition to the many brief entries, some topics are reviewed completely with 20-30 images and videos up to 15-20 minutes in length. These videos are incredibly detailed and review how to perform full surgical procedures. Examples of “complete” entries with videos and images include femoral nailing, ACL reconstruction, SLAP repair, rotator cuff repair, chevron osteotomy, compartment syndrome fasciotomy, shoulder hemiarthroplasty, and carpal tunnel release – I counted a total of 23 videos within the app. Unlike many other apps that offer videos, all media is completely contained within this app and downloaded to the device, which explains the download size of over 800mb, but also has the great benefit of full access 100% of the time (i.e. review surgical techniques on an airplane). Lastly, the app has a very good search feature that scans all topic titles and text within the app.
Overall, Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics is the first orthopaedic text to “go digital” with an incredibly useful reference app that is ideal for junior orthopaedic surgery residents. Although considered an expensive app at $100, compare this to list price of nearly $800 for the 4-volume print version. Of course, the app is not the complete text, but is most useful to trainees who may frequently use the app as a “refresher” between operative cases. The interface is well designed, the images and text are clear, and the search function is invaluable. In addition, consider that the purchase price includes ownership for life with all associated updates. Campbell’s is a very highly recommended app for those who can afford it.