A new take on the AO's history to mark its 60th anniversary

19. December 2018

AO Foundation premieres new animated film about its founders

This year the AO Foundation celebrates the 60th anniversary of its establishment, which makes this the ideal moment to look back at all that the AO has achieved in these decades. In those early days, the AO was a small group of surgeons and engineers who set their minds to radically improving patient outcomes in the treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

Today, the AO is a global phenomenon with 20,000 surgeon members, and a wider network of 170,000 health care professionals in all regions of the world. Back when the AO Foundation's founders started working on the problem of fracture healing the technologies and approaches they adopted were revolutionary. Today, AO approaches are the gold standard and are taught across the world.

As the AO grows and changes, and as more people who worked with the founders in those early years retire, there is a growing need to ensure that today's AO retains the rebellious spirit and absolute devotion to patient outcomes that motivated its founders.

To help achieve this, the AO's Media Production and Publishing team worked with surviving AO Foundation founder Peter Matter to recreate key moments from its history. The animated film they made seeks to honor the founders and bring snapshots of this history to current members of the AO community.

AO Foundation Board Member and President-Elect Florian Gebhard was one of the driving forces behind this project. "Video is today the best format to tell stories, and using animated figures helps the past to really come alive. People who are today involved in the AO do feel a real connection to its origins, and I hope that this video will give them a sense of what it was like to be there, working with those people, in that environment, at that time," Gebhard stated.

"In today's fast-changing medical environment, it is important that we take the time to mark this 60-year milestone. The AO kick-started an industry, and there have been many copies over the years, but there is only one original, and it is important we recognize, and celebrate, that," Gebhard said.

AO Foundation founder Peter Matter said: "I feel very strongly that over the past 60 years the original spirit has been successfully passed on to further generations, and that it was and still is the basis of scientific, clinical, and technical progress. Today there is a danger, as the AO grows, that this spirit might be lost, which is why initiatives like this are so important." ​

The video was premiered during the AO Foundation's flagship educational event, the AO Davos Courses, which were held in Davos​ from December 2-12. During this time over 1,500 people from 87 countries attended more than 20 courses in the fields of trauma, spine, CMF, veterinary, and recon surgery.

Watch part 3 of the animationLearn about the establishment of AOVET, AOCMF, AOSpine,
and AOTrauma

Explore the highlights of the first 60 years of the AO

A glimpse into what the future holds for the AO​

Learn about the AO Education Institute, AO Research Institute
Davos, AO Clinical Evaluation and Documentation, and 
AO Technical Commission