About the AO

The AO is the premier innovator in the surgical treatment of bone fractures and disorders. Innovation at the AO goes from bench to bedside, including basic research, product development, clinical validation, and valorization.

Today we have a global network of over 460,000 health care professionals. Each year we offer over 775 educational events around the world, supported by nearly 7,000 faculty and attended by over 98,000 participants. We have around 18,500 surgeon members working in the fields of trauma, spine, craniomaxillofacial, veterinary, and reconstructive surgery.

Introducing the AO

Transforming Surgery—Changing Lives

The AO began with a problem: how to improve patient outcomes in the treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. Today, this remains the priority for everyone at and involved with the AO.

The AO covers different specialist areas, brought together into one global community, one network, one powerhouse of excellence focused on improving patient care.

The AO mission: promoting excellence in patient care and outcomes in trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

Organizational structure and governance

The AO is structure reflects those areas in which it is active. The AO's institutes, clinical divisions, clinical unit, and initiatives conduct research, development, education, clinical investigation and approval of new devices or methods. Management boards support, supervise, and ensure the AO's diverse activities are carried out efficiently and effectively.

Assembly of Trustees

The Assembly of Trustees is the "AO parliament", comprising 96 leading surgeons from around the world and 27 Honorary Members.

AO Foundation Board

Find out more about the AO Foundation Board, the AO's governing body.

AO Presidents

See who has served as AO Foundation president from its establishment in 1984 to the present.

AO Executive Committee

The AO Executive Committee reports directly to the AO Foundation Board, and includes the CEO, CFO/COO and executive directors representing key areas of AO activity.

AO Annual Report 2021

AO Annual Report 2021

Discover how a resilient AO moved forward in education, research, finance and governance, and corporate social responsibility. Read the report online or download the PDF.

Ethics and Compliance Committee

The AO's independent Ethics and Compliance Committee supervises ethics and compliance matters at the AO, and reports directly to the President, the AO Foundation Board, and the Trustees.

AO regions

As the AO's activities grew and diversified, defined AO regions were established in order to provide more localized support. There are five AO Regions: Asia Pacific, Europe and Southern Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Northern Africa, and North America.

These regional departments, supported by specialist staff in Switzerland, help make the AO more relevant in their geographies.


Scroll through this timeline to learn more about some of the most important milestones in the AO's history.

Browse through key events from our past

The AO 60th anniversary: an animated look at our past, present, and future

In 2018, the AO's 60th anniversary year, an in-house team of broadcast professionals, filmmakers, educators, and surgeons, combined forces to create an animated video about the AO's founders and key milestones in its development since 1958. Watch the videos below to find out more about the AO's history, in an engaging and entertaining format.

AO founders

Learn about our history.

AO founders

Learn about our history.

AO founders

Learn about our history.

AO founders

Learn about our history.

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