Far from the state-of-the-art medical facilities available in the United States, many brain surgeons in developing countries look to their smartphones for guidance. The phones have started to fulfill this role, in part, thanks to the thousands of 3-D brain images, produced by Dr. Albert Rhoton at the University of Florida, that are freely available online.
"I've had young surgeons from Africa, Brazil and other countries tell me they're pulling the images into the operating room" and using them during surgery, said Rhoton, head of the Neuro-Microanatomy Lab at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute.
From its beginnings as a training tool for surgical residents, the doctor's image library has grown into the world's largest collection of 3-D brain images. Physicians across the globe now use the detailed anatomical images to train residents, prepare for surgeries and even guide them when performing surgery. [Gallery: See the Amazing 3-D Images of the Human Brain]
The images are "our small contribution to making what is a delicate, awesome experience for neurosurgery patients more accurate, gentler and safer," Rhoton told LiveScience.