AO Foundation

1947-11-01 00:00:00

AO origins

In the late 1940s, the biology of bone healing had not been scientifically investigated and knowledge was sparse.

1949-11-01 00:00:00

AO origins

The book 'Théorie et Pratique de l'Ostéosynthèse' by a Belgian surgeon, Robert Danis, published in 1949, attracted the attention of a young, innovative Swiss surgeon, Maurice E Müller.

1950-11-01 00:00:00

AO origins

Maurice E Müller visited Danis in March 1950 and gathered a small group of Swiss surgeons—Robert Schneider, Hans Willenegger, Martin Allgöwer, and Walter Bandi—who shared his interests in research in bone healing.

1958-11-06 00:00:00

AO Foundation established

On November 6, 1958 the AO Foundation was established at the Hotel Elite in Biel, by a group of Swiss surgeons: Maurice E Müller, Robert Schneider, Hans Willenegger, Martin Allgöwer (pictured 2nd from left), and Walter Bandi, who came together to champion revolutionary techniques of internal fixation that achieved unprecedented results in healing bone fractures.

1959-06-23 00:00:00

Laboratory of Experimental Surgery Davos established

The first undertaking of the AO founders - Maurice E Müller, Robert Schneider, Hans Willenegger, Martin Allgöwer, and Walter Bandi - was to find a suitable place to conduct research. Davos was selected as the location and the previous tuberculosis facility run by Alexander Spengler in Villa Fontana was identified as the ideal place for the newly established Laboratory for Experimental Surgery (LECD- Labor für experimentelle Chirurgie Davos). Allgöwer was its first director. Each of the AO founders made significant financial contributions towards the start-up costs for the AO's first research facility, known since June 1992 as the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI).

1959-11-01 00:00:00

AO Founders developed four pillars

The four pillars developed by Maurice E Müller, Robert Schneider, Hans Willenegger, Martin Allgöwer, and Walter Bandi were: 1. Development of implants and instruments 2. Research of fracture healing and tissue cultures 3. Documentation of all patients 4. Teaching of osteosynthesis techniques.

1960-12-10 00:00:00

First AO Davos Courses

Led by the AO founders Maurice E Müller and Martin Allgöwer, 69 surgeons attended the first AO Davos Courses and learned new techniques in trauma surgery. The four-day course was organized by the AO Laboratory of Experimental Surgery (LECD, Labor für experimentelle Chirurgie Davos).

1961-11-01 00:00:00

AO Technical Commission established

The AO Foundation established the AO Technical Commission (AOTK System) as the institute responsible for the development and approval of innovative surgical techniques, implants, and instruments. The AOTK System is medically guided by independent surgeons who are responsible for the development and clinical testing of new devices. Today the AOTK System consists of the TK Executive Board (TKEB), Technical Commissions, and Expert Groups for trauma, spine, craniomaxillofacial, and veterinary surgery.

1961-11-01 00:00:00

The second AO Davos Courses

Building upon the success of the first courses, the second annual AO Davos Courses had 102 participants, including the first American surgeons. The educational curriculum was expanded to include biomechanics of fractures.

1963-11-01 00:00:00

A revolutionary toolkit

This instrument box for compression plates as shown in the first AO manual from 1963 represents many of the medical advances developed by the AO. With the proper teaching, these standardized high-quality instruments and implants would allow surgeons around the world to replicate the success of the Swiss founders in treating fractures. At this time, AO equipment was technically superior to anything previously made, especially the Müller compression plate when compared with the Lane plate.

1969-08-31 00:00:00

AOVET established

In the early years, AO surgeons worked side by side with several veterinarians interested in learning the new techniques. They saw opportunities for animals to benefit from these advances in fracture treatment and that is how AOVET came to be founded in 1969, just ten years after the AO Foundation. The founders of AOVET were Björn von Salis, Fritz Straumann, Ortrun Pohler, Hans Willenegger, Urs Guggenbühl, Peter Dätwyler, Geri Kasa, and Feri Kasa.

1969-11-01 00:00:00

First AO course held in North America

By the late 1960's, interest in AO courses had spread so quickly that it became necessary to offer courses in different countries. The first AO course was held in North America. AOVET held their first course in Columbus (US), which was initiated by Bruce Hohn.

1969-12-01 00:00:00

AO Davos Courses move to the Davos Congress Centre

The AO Davos Courses were attracting so many surgeons that they needed a larger venue. When the new Davos Congress Centre opened its doors in 1969, the AO Davos Courses moved to this larger newly built facility. Fifty years later the AO Davos Courses are still held in this same location. The course offerings also expanded in 1969 when the first Advanced Course was held.

1970-01-01 00:00:00

First AOVET course in Switzerland

The first AOVET course was held in Bettlach, Switzerland. AOVET's courses immediately found an audience of veterinary surgeons eager to learn. Since then AOVET has offered more than 360 courses in 58 countries, training over 8,000 veterinary surgeons.

1972-11-01 00:00:00

First AO course held in Latin America

The first AO Foundation course in Latin America took place in Mexico in 1972, and the AO presence has grown consistently across the region to currently well over 4,000 members, offering health care professionals access to gold-standard education in courses, symposia, and events.

1974-11-01 00:00:00

First AOCMF course

The first AOCMF course, Fractures of the Mandible, was held in Davos, under the leadership of Professor Bernd Spiessl and Professor Joachim Prein. At this time, AOCMF is not a clinical division, but an AOTrauma supported initiative. Today, AOCMF has over 3,200 members around the world.

1975-09-07 13:54:57

First AO course in South America

The first AO Foundation course was held in South America. Taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Sept 7-13, 1975.

1977-11-01 00:00:00

First AO course held in Asia Pacific

The first AO Foundation course was held in Asia Pacific. Since then the AO Asia Pacific network has grown to over 5,800 members. Offering health care professionals access to gold-standard education with more than 200 courses, symposia, and events each year.

1978-11-01 00:00:00

First AO course held in the Middle East and Northern Africa region

By the late 1970's the AO had become a truly international organization and the first course was held in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Held at Ain Shams University, 26 surgeons attended a course held in Cairo, Egypt, led by Prof Ganz. Since then the AO MENA network has grown to 2,000 members. Offering health care professionals access to gold-standard education with 70 courses, symposia, and events each year.

1979-11-01 00:00:00

Second AO course held in the Middle East and Northern Africa region

Building on the first course's success, the second course in the Middle East and Northern Africa region took place in Alexandria, Egypt. Held in El Hadara hospital, 48 surgeons came to learn the latest techniques from AO founder Hans Willenegger and AO faculty Prof Rosen and Prof Fredrick. Today the AO MENA network has 2,000 members and offers health care professionals access to gold-standard education with 70 courses, symposia, and events each year.

1984-12-01 00:00:00

Charter of the AO Foundation

The Charter of the AO Foundation was signed in Davos, Switzerland, formally establishing the AO as an international organization with Martin Allgöwer as its first president. Today the AO has a global network of over 200,000 health care professionals. Each year it offers over 830 educational events around the world, which are supported by nearly 9,000 faculty and are attended by over 58,000 participants. It has 20,000 surgeon members working in the fields of trauma, spine, craniomaxillofacial (CMF), veterinary, and reconstructive surgery.

1988-11-01 00:00:00

AO founders awarded the Marcel Benoist Prize

In 1988 three AO founders received the highest scientific recognition of the Swiss Government, the Marcel Benoist Prize, also known as the Swiss Nobel Prize. It is awarded to scientists whose work promotes excellence in Swiss research, with the aim of bringing together the best scientists in the country and of increasing Switzerland’s attractiveness as a center for research and innovation. AO founders Maurice E Müller, Martin Allgöwer, and Hans Willenegger are presented with the Marcel Benoist Prize.

1992-06-28 00:00:00

Official opening of the AO Center

The AO's headquarters in Davos, known as the AO Center, opened in 1992, bringing the foundation’s research, education, clinical documentation, and administrative functions together under one roof. Today over 250 employees call the AO Center home.

1992-06-29 00:00:00

AO North America established

The AO Foundation's first regional group is established: AO North America. This step was key to the growth and global development of the organization. For the first time, education and research activities were carried out according to regional needs and available resources, factoring in the socio-economic aspects of a specific region. Today, AO North America has over 2,300 members and holds 73 educational events annually with 5,000 participants.

1992-06-29 00:00:00

AO Research Institute Davos (ARI)

The AO's first research facility, Laboratory of Experimental Surgery Davos (LECD, Labor für experimentelle Chirurgie Davos), founded in June 1959, was renamed the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) when it moved to the newly built AO Center. Today ARI is continuing this work to advance patient care through innovative orthopedic research and development.

1995-11-11 01:14:43

AO East Asia established

AO East Asia was officially established with its first President Dr Suthorn Bavonratanavech from Bangkok, Thailand. In 2007 the region was renamed AO Asia Pacific. Today AO Asia Pacific has grown to 2,600 members and offers health care professionals access to gold-standard education with 100 courses, symposia, and events each year. The establishment of AO regions were key to the growth and global development of the organization. They made it possible to adapt education and research activities to regional needs and available resources, factoring in the socio-economic aspects of a specific region.

1998-10-17 01:33:42

AO Latin America established

An idea that originated during the 1997 AO Trustees meeting was realized in 1998 when AO Latin America was created with Dr Jaime Quintero as the first President. The establishment of AO regions were key to the growth and global development of the organization. They enabled education and research activities to be carried out in line with regional needs and available resources, factoring in the specific region's socio-economic environment. The AO presence in the region has grown to over 4,000 members and offers health care professionals access to gold-standard educational events.

1999-11-01 00:00:00

ARI launches eCM Journal

AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) launches the eCM Journal, one of the first ever online open access scientific journals in the world. The three founders were Prof Geoff Richards, Dr lolo ap Gwynn, and Prof Godfried Roomans. The eCM Journal provides an interdisciplinary forum for publication in the musculoskeletal field of preclinical research, including the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

1999-12-16 00:00:00

AO Clinical Investigation and Documentation

Documentation has been a pillar of the AO since the very beginning. The first AO Documentation Center was created by AO founder Maurice E Müller in 1959, using a punch card system (pictured), to capture vital information on patients such as injury and surgical details as well as treatment outcomes. In 1967, the AO Documentation Center was formally established as a foundation in Bern, Switzerland, under the direction of Müller. The AO Documentation Center was renamed AO Clinical Investigation and Documentation (AOCID), in response to the challenge of creating and publishing clinical evidence—a new norm of modern medicine. From a handful of clinical trials in the early years, today AOCID continues its tradition of careful planning and conducting of clinical studies and has intensified its engagement in clinical education with the AO Program for Education and Excellence in Research (AOPEER).

2000-12-01 00:00:00

AO Principles of Fracture Management, First Edition, published

Publication of the first edition of the AO Principles of Fracture Management marked a generation change at the AO. Custodianship over the AO body of knowledge transferred from the original AO Founders to Thomas Rüedi (AO Foundation founder) and William Murphy, editors of this first edition. The first edition of the AO Principles book was more than manual, it was an interpretation of the AO philosophy and principles as they apply to the management of fractures in the new millennium. Keeping pace with the new digital age, the launch of the AO Principles book also marked a new evolutionary step in AO publishing, with the inclusion of an e-book version. Revolutionary at the time, this first edition offered chapters, illustrations, and images in a digital format, weblinks to references on PubMed, and video clips of surgical procedures.

2003-11-01 00:00:00

First AOSpine course held

A year after AOSpine was formally established the first course was held. Today AOSpine has grown and offers over 200 educational events worldwide, involving more than 12,000 participants.

2003-11-01 00:00:00

AOSpine formed

AOSpine was formally established in 2003 as an international organization of spine surgeons dedicated to generating, disseminating and exchanging knowledge to advance spine care. Its collaborative and innovative approach has seen it grow to what it is today – the leading global academic community of spine surgeons and researchers.

2006-11-01 00:00:00

AO sells Synthes brand name and related intellectual property

The sale marked the beginning of a new chapter for the AO, established Synthes as the AO's sole implant partner, and went on to form the basis for its subsequent longstanding cooperation with valued partner DePuy Synthes.

2006-11-01 00:00:00

AO Surgery Reference launched

The AO's online resource for the management of fractures, AO Surgery Reference, was launched to provide health care professionals with a comprehensive and practical online reference tool. AO Surgery Reference is based on current clinical principles, practices, and available evidence. It describes the complete surgical management process from diagnosis to aftercare for fractures in a given anatomical region and provides access to relevant published AO material. It is open to anyone, free of charge, all you need is internet access. AO Surgery Reference is available on laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

2006-12-11 00:00:00

AO Middle East established

AO Middle East was officially established in Davos, Switzerland. Today, health care professionals across the Middle East and Northern Africa region are actively involved in AO courses and events.

2008-11-01 00:00:00

AOTrauma formed

AOTrauma was formed to create an international community of trauma and orthopedic surgeons, musculoskeletal researchers, and operating room personnel (ORP) dedicated to delivering knowledge, experience, and evidence to improve patient care and outcomes in the field of musculoskeletal trauma. Today, AOTrauma has almost 9,000 members worldwide and offers 390 educational events to over 35,200 participants each year.

2008-11-01 00:00:00

AOCMF formed

AOCMF was formed to support a worldwide network of clinicians from the fields of oral and maxillofacial surgery, plastic surgery, ENT, head and neck surgery, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery. Today, AOCMF has over 3,000 members worldwide and offers 120 educational events to 7,000 participants each year.

2013-11-01 00:00:00

AO Strategy Fund launched

The AO Strategy Fund was created to manage and invest in strategically important new initiatives. More than 20 multi-year projects have been approved across five focus areas: education, patient care, knowledge sharing, outreach, and research.

2014-11-01 00:00:00

AORecon formed

AORecon is a community of experts dedicated to delivering outstanding education that was established to respond to the rising number of joint preservation and replacement cases around the world. Since its creation AORecon has organized over 70 events with leading arthroplasty experts as faculty, reaching in total close to 11,000 surgeons across the world.

2015-01-01 00:00:00

AO Alliance Foundation formed

AO Alliance was established building on the work of AO Socio-Economic Committee (AO SEC) and dedicated to improving the care of the injured in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Today, AO Alliance is leading the way in educating health care professionals in.

2015-11-01 00:00:00

Cooperation Agreement signed with DePuy Synthes

2015-11-01 00:00:00

First AORecon course held

Carsten Perka and Jean-Noël Argenson chaired AORecon's first ever course, held during the AO regional courses. The two-day event "Principles of Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty" attracted 48 participants, and was the first of three curriculum-based courses AORecon offers to educate orthopedic surgeons in joint preservation and replacement. Since 2014, AORecon has held over 70 events with leading arthroplasty experts as faculty, reaching almost 11,000 surgeons worldwide.

2016-08-01 00:00:00

AO Invest launched

Following in the footsteps of the AO's founders, who were motivated to improve patient care, the AO Foundation launched AO Invest, an investment fund focusing on disruptive technologies in the field of musculoskeletal disorders. AO Invest's goal is to invest in start-ups working in areas related to the AO Foundation's core expertise using the Foundation's unique reach and expertise to help their companies achieve their full potential.

2016-12-01 00:00:00

AO Development Incubator (AODI) established

The AO Foundation established AODI to support inventors with the finances and know-how they need to build and execute project plans towards a Proof of Concept.

2018-09-01 00:00:00

AO Science Path

As part of the AO Foundation's work, in its 60th anniversary year, to bring its story to a wider audience the AO Science Path was developed. A series of five signs erected near the AO Center in Davos that describe the AO's origins and achievements. Walk the #AOsciencepath with us.

2018-11-06 00:00:00

AO Foundation turns 60, continuing to transform surgery and change lives

On November 6, 2018, the AO Foundation celebrated its establishment sixty years earlier at the Hotel Elite in Biel, Switzerland. A group of Swiss surgeons: Maurice E Müller, Robert Schneider, Hans Willenegger, Martin Allgöwer, and Walter Bandi, came together to champion revolutionary techniques of internal fixation that achieved unprecedented results in healing bone fractures.

AO Foundation

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