Explore the various educational offerings and resources available to our community

AO Spine courses—the best in the world of spine surgeon education!

AO Spine has been leading the way in spine surgeon training for over 20 years. More than 230'000 spine surgeons around the world have already attended our courses.

The participants of an AO Spine Pan-Iberian specimen course on complex spine surgery in 2023 explain what makes AO Spine courses superior and why you should attend.

AO Spine provides over 200 educational opportunities to over 13,000 spine surgeons and spine specialists worldwide

From face-to-face practical courses to recorded webinars—AO Spine has the educational option to suit your learning needs at a time and place to fit around your other commitments.

Global Spine Diploma

The Global Spine Diploma (GSD) certifies spine surgeons’ knowledge at an international level. In addition, the 12-month online Global Spine Diploma Program will give you access to a network of spine professionals around the world, and the experience and support of global leaders in spine surgery. The diploma can also be achieved by taking the GSD Exam directly. So, there are two paths you can take, depending on your level of experience:

  • GSD Program is for recently graduated spinal orthopedic or neurosurgeons.
  • GSD Exam is for experienced spine surgeons.

Educational resources

AO Spine Injury Classification Systems

Based on a systematic assessment and revision of the Magerl classification.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS)

Explore the AO Spine MISS events and educational resources.

Videos and webinars

Digital teaching and learning material, webinars, and event coverage for educational purposes

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AO Spine aims to provide opportunities for all members to become better teachers.


The AO Spine curriculum is a framework that offers a foundation for continuing development in diverse practice settings.


Providing additional experience in surgical techniques for fully trained orthopedic and neurosurgeons interested in spine surgery.

Education task forces

  • General information

    The task forces are surgeon led working groups. Most of the work is done virtually. The following criteria applies to all task force positions

    1. Commitment to and active engagement with AO Spine as a paying member for at least a year;
    2. Established regional/international AO Spine surgeon network to help obtain buy-in;
    3. Demonstrated experience and expertise in the specific focus area of the task force;
    4. Recommendation letter from a longstanding and respected AO Spine member.
    Task force members are selected on merit. All interested AO Spine Members are welcome to contact the AO Spine office to discuss how they can add value to task force activities. Individual surgeons can also be recommended for a task force position. The final selection is made by the Task Force Leader and the AOSEC Chair.
  • Educational Strategies Task Force
    The Educational Strategies Task Force aims to lead innovation in spine surgery education by delivering education that reflects the learning culture in the surgical workplace. Its key objectives are to ensure AO Spine education includes:
    1. Blended learning 
    2. Hospital based events 
    3. Hands-on courses that are realistic 
    4. Remote access events that are low cost

    Words from our Task Force leader:

    "The Educational Strategies Task Force will allow AO Spine to develop and offer innovative educational programs on a variety of platforms to meet the changing needs of our members."

    Steven Theiss, Educational Strategies Task Force Leader

    Task Force Members:

    Steven Theiss

    Task Force Leader
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Birmingham, United States

    AlaaEldin Ahmad

    Arab Care Hospital
    Ramallah, Palestine

    John DeVine

    AOSpine Education Commission Member
    Augusta University
    Augusta, United States

    Harry Gebhard

    Kantonsspital Baden, Switzerland

    Luiz Gustavo

    Hospital Universitario Cajuru
    Curitiba, Brazil

    Jose Manuel Ignacio

     University of the Philippines
    Manila, Philippines

    Alpaslan Senkoylu

    Gazi University
    Ankara, Turkey

    Muzahem Taha

    Sedram Private Hospital
    Erbil, Iraq

  • Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery MISS Task Force
    The MISS Task Force aims to see AO Spine become the leading educator in minimally invasive techniques and procedures and meet surgeons' needs for improved surgical outcomes and reduced morbidity. Its key objectives are based on the following focus areas:
    1. Target – Optimized patient selection
    2. Technology – Optimal combination of access, visualization, navigation, instrumentation, biologic augmentation
    3. Technique – Principles, approaches, neural protection, decompression, stabilization
    4. Training – Simulation, observation, mentorship
    5. Testing the boundaries – MISS for deformity, robotics.

    We appreciate feedback on your local needs. To share your feedback with us, please follow this link.
    If you are interested in becoming a faculty member for MISS courses, please provide us with your details here.

    Words from our Task Force leader:

    "The MISS Task Force spearheads the process within AO Spine to better define the role of MISS going forward, to evaluate the great variety of technologies and techniques available, and to establish successful ways to teach and train surgeons globally and at every stage of their career."

    Roger Härtl, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) Task Force Leader

    Task Force Members:

    Roger Härtl

    Task Force Leader
    Weill Cornell Medical College
    New York, United States

    Richard Assaker

    Centre Hospitalier Regional Universitaire
    Lille, France

    Mohammed Assous

    Razi Spine Clinic
    Amman, Jordan

    Christoph Hofstetter

    University of Washington
    Seattle, United States

    JinSung Kim

    The Catholic University of Korea
    Seoul, South Korea

    Avelino Parajon

    Hospital Universitario 
    Ramón y Cajal
    Madrid, Spain

    Nestor Taboada

    Néstor Taboada

    Clinica PortoAzul
    Barranquilla, Colombia

    Paul Taylor

    SpinesWA Mount Hospital
    Perth, Australia

Richard Bransford

“AO Spine Education constantly strives to move with the latest trends and to be relevant—to make AO an even better educational organization in an increasingly challenging world and market.”

Richard Bransford, Chairperson AO Spine Education Commission

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