Liver surgery is a very complex operation, requiring extensive planning and research before a doctor ever enters the operating room. To help improve the process and minimize the risks of this delicate operation, doctors in Japan teamed up with a German research institute to develop an iPad app for use during liver surgeries. The app shows three-dimensional surgical data, helps pinpoint the exact location of blood vessels, and assesses potential risks in real time. “The visualization of liver blood vessels puts surgeons at ease, and it helps to ensure that the right incisions are made at the right time,” says Dr. Itaru Endo of Yokohama City University. The number of doctors using iPad apps during surgery is growing — the apps not only help save lives, they save money. “Augmented reality and other features of the app can replace equipment that costs half a million dollars,” Endo says.