The AO Surgery Reference

The all-in-one online reference supporting you from patient assessment to aftercare

The AO Surgery Reference is a powerful online resource for the management of a vast variety of fractures. It is based on current clinical principles, practices, and available evidence. It is designed to support your day-to-day treatment planning, learning, and teaching.

Read more on the AO Surgery Reference below or visit our FAQ page!

Orthopedic trauma

The orthopedic trauma section provides free access to fracture management in:

  • Adult fractures
  • Pediatric fractures
  • Periprosthetic fractures of the hip and knee


The Spine section offers free access to the following topics:

  • Trauma (occipitocervical, subaxial cervical, thoracic and lumbar, and sacropelvic)
  • Deformities (scoliosis, Scheuermann kyphosis, and spondylolisthesis)
  • Tumors (primary and metastatic)
  • Degenerative (cervical and lumbar)


The craniomaxillofacial (CMF) section covers the following topics:

  • Trauma
  • Sequela
  • Orthognathic
  • Reconstruction
  • Congenital deformities

All CMF trauma sections and the modules on the reconstruction of the facial nerve and nose are accessible to all users. The other specific topic areas are accessible to AO CMF members only.


The veterinary section contains content on fracture management in the horse, dog, and cat. Most anatomical regions are exclusively AO VET members only. The following anatomical regions are accessible to all users:

  • Horse: phalanges
  • Dog: femoral shaft
  • Cat: femoral shaft


The orthopedic trauma section provides free access to the management of periprosthetic fractures of the hip and knee modules.

Arthroplasty is covered in selected anatomical regions around joints (eg, proximal and distal humerus, and proximal femur).

Benefits for residents

Accelerate your learning curve!

  • Get ready for surgery. Review procedures and approaches before you enter the operating room. Anytime, anywhere.
  • Prepare for case presentation or case discussion.
  • Achieve your learning goals.

We prepared a sample checklist to aid you in your treatment planning. Get your checklist for success here!

Check our collections of basic techniques (adult trauma, pediatric trauma).

Check the intraoperative imaging compendium (adult trauma).

Benefits for practitioners

Join the experience of our users worldwide!

  • Compare treatment options and decide what’s appropriate for your patient.
  • Plan your patient’s treatment.
  • Use the step-by-step approach when communicating with your staff.
  • Make use of the illustrations when engaging your patients in their treatment.
  • Sharpen your skills prior to performing surgery.
  • Explore and make use of new features.

Check the intraoperative imaging compendium (adult trauma).

Benefits for surgeon educators

  • Use the content to educate your residents and course participants.
  • Use the AO Surgery Reference’s image collection—with more than 30,000 surgical illustrations to choose from—to illustrate your presentations and teaching materials.

Check our collections of basic techniques (adult traumapediatric trauma).

Check the intraoperative imaging compendium (adult trauma).

What makes AO Surgery Reference different?

  • From start to finish—and beyond, it describes the complete fracture management process, from diagnosis to aftercare for all fractures of a specific anatomical region.
  • State-of-the-art content addressing a global audience: The AO Surgery Reference’s high-quality content has undergone a rigorous peer-review and editorial process. See our list of Editors!
  • Always up to date: Introduced in 2006, the AO Surgery Reference has been continuously expanded and revised. Check what is recently released and coming up: publications and new features!
  • Unique collection of illustrations: Over 30,000 surgical illustrations—available for free download—take you through each step of the procedures and approaches.
  • Widely recognized: The AO Surgery reference has earned multiple awards.
  • Interconnected: Augment your case in myAO Casefolio with injury type, treatment, approach, and patient preparation from the AO Surgery Reference. Read more!

How it works: the AO Surgery Reference in five easy steps

  1. Choose your specialty and anatomical region using the skeleton overview.
  2. Select the fracture type for your case.
  3. Decide on the optimal treatment according to the indications.
  4. Get the treatment plan with approach, patient preparation, and pearls and pitfalls of the procedure.
  5. Follow the step-by-step instructions for a successful surgery, including pre- and postoperative care.
AOSR 5 steps

App highlights

  • The content structure primarily follows the AO/OTA Fracture and Dislocation Classification.
  • The content can be accessed through the navigation or the powerful and easy-to-use search function.
  • The layout of AO Surgery Reference in a browser adapts to the size of your screen and the app makes it easy for mobile users to access.

Download the app!

The AO Surgery Reference has a gallery of over 30'000 unique surgical illustrations. Watch the video to find out how these are created.

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