Accessing AO: Narratives from our members

Muhammad Alsherbeeny: My AO journey
Muhammad Alsherbeeny, a consultant surgeon specializing in arthroplasty, arthroscopy, and lower limb reconstruction at King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Medical City in Medina, Saudi Arabia, shares his AO journey: 

Anyone considering joining the AO should know about the many opportunities it offers for both young surgeons to learn in official AO Fellowship Centers and, later in their careers, to become AO Faculty. I personally began my AO journey with a six-week Stephan Perren AO Trauma Research Traveling Fellowship at the Universitätsklinikum Regensburg in Germany, in 2017; it was a valuable learning opportunity.   

I was supported from the beginning by Helga Lautenschlager, secretary to Prof Michael Nerlich, who helped me plan my journey to Regensburg. I arrived in Regensburg on January 16,  2017, and was met the next morning by Prof Nerlich, an unassuming gentleman with a charming smile on his face. He introduced me to my new colleagues. After the meeting, Helga Lautenschlager showed me around the hospital and informed me about almost everything that I would need there.   

From the second day onward, I was given the opportunity to scrub up and assist in surgeries in different subspecialties. I learned many valuable clinical tips and pearls during my work in the operating room (OR) and outpatient department. The hospital’s ORs operate daily from Monday to Friday, sometimes dealing with emergency cases. At the hospital, they perform a variety of primary and revision total knee and hip replacement surgeries daily. They also undertake a wide variety of shoulder, knee, and ankle arthroscopic surgeries. Prof Nerlich has a great grasp of the AO philosophy and how to improve surgical outcomes to improve our patients’ quality of life after surgery. This great learning experience affected and changed my work when I returned to Egypt. Today, as a consultant surgeon at King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Medical City in Medina, Saudi Arabia, I will deliver better service for my patients and pass on this great experience to my young colleagues.   

Fellowship opportunities are among the many ways the AO advances its mission of promoting excellence in patient care and outcomes in trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. My fellowship was the springboard for being invited to join Prof Nerlich in Bad Aussee, Austria, in 2019, to attend the AO Trauma Symposium—Grenzfälle der operativen/konservativen Therapie. Ist die operative Therapie wirklich besser? I had the opportunity for fruitful and pleasant discussions with orthopedic surgeons from different European medical schools. Overall, the Stephan Perren AO Trauma Research Traveling Fellowship was a very pleasant, beneficial, informative, and fruitful experience. All the staff at the Universitätsklinikum Regensburg were nice, friendly, and down-to-earth and looked after me during my stay. This AO Fellowship is one of my most memorable life experiences.

I think it’s important to add that fellowships are very competitive, but the AO offers other personal and professional development opportunitlies—via AO Access—without barriers like having good connections, financial means, or networking. These opportunities include the existing open call to contribute to AO Access, the chance to be a guest on the AO Access to success podcast, the AO Access Mentorship Program, and the AO Access Journey—and all of these opportunities are free and accessible to everyone.

You might also be interested in: