About the AO

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

Today the AO has a global network of over 215,000 health care professionals. Each year it offers over 830 educational events around the world, supported by nearly 9,000 faculty and attended by over 58,000 participants. It has 20,000 surgeon members working in the fields of trauma, spine, craniomaxillofacial, veterinary, and reconstructive surgery.

Introducing the AO

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.

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. 


AO Foundation Board

AO Foundation Board

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

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. 

Corporate social responsibility

The AO is proud to be a good corporate citizen in all geographies where it has a presence. From energy-saving initiatives at its headquarters in Davos (Switzerland), to projects in Malawi, and targeted initiatives in key locations across the world, the AO remains driven by its founders' passion for improving lives. Find out more about what the AO has achieved in these areas in the 2018 Annual Report. 

The AO's greatest CSR contribution is in its continuing support for the AO Alliance Foundation, a developmental non-profit organization dedicated to improving fracture care in low and middle income countries.

Carbon compensation is the second biggest CSR activity at the AO. Since 2013, the AO has voluntarily offset part of its carbon footprint, and energy saving at the AO Center in Davos has been underway since 2007, achieving significant reductions.

The AO believes in good citizenship locally, as well as globally, and is proud to support HCD with comprehensive sports medical care for HCD juniors, and also to support ARGO, a foundation with commercial workshops and residential homes for adults with disabilities in Davos.

Our surgeon faculty and board members are able to donate a percentage of their per diems to support the AO's CSR activities.



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.


The AO's first 60 years

Find out more about where we came from. 

The AO's clinical divisions

Learn about the establishment of AO VET, AO CMF, AO Spine, and AO Trauma.

The AO institutes

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

The future

Take a glimpse into what the future may hold for the AO.


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