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

The 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 from the AO

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

AOVET was founded by 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 in Switzerland was held in Bettlach.

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.

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

1978-11-01 00:00:00

First AO course held in the Middle East and Northern Africa

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 Cario, Egypt, led by Prof Ganz.

1979-11-01 00:00:00

Second AO course in the Middle East and Northern Africa

Building on the success of the first course in the previous year, the second course was held in the Middle East and Northern Africa in Alexandria, Egypt. Held in El Hadara hospital, 48 surgeons attended to learn the latest techniques from AO founder Hans Willenegger, and AO faculty Prof Rosen and Prof Fredrick.

1984-12-01 00:00:00

Charter of the AO Foundation is signed

The Charter of the AO Foundation is signed in Davos, Switzerland, formally establishing the AO as an international organization with Martin Allgöwer as its first president.

1988-11-01 00:00:00

AO Foundation awarded the Marcel Benoist Prize

In 1988 the AO Foundation 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.

1992-06-10 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) was renamed the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) when it moved to the newly built AO Center. Photo: AO employees on moving day.

1992-06-28 00:00:00

Official opening of the AO Center

The AO's headquarters, known as the AO Center, opens in Davos, Switzerland.

1992-06-29 00:00:00

AO North America established

The AO Foundation becomes international with the establishment of the first regional group: AO North America.

1999-11-01 00:00:00

ARI launches eCM Journal

ARI launches the eCM Journal, one of the first ever open access scientific journals. The three founders were Prof Geoff Richards (GB), Dr Iolo ap Gwynn (GB), and Prof Godfried Roomans (SE). Photo: Current eCM editorial team. Front: Dr Simona Ciriello, Junior Production Editor (AO Research Institute Davos, CH); Dr. Iolo ap Gwynn , Production Editor, co-founder eCM (Aberystwyth, Wales, UK); Prof. Mauro Alini, Scientific Editor (AO Research Institute Davos, Davos, CH), Prof. Chris Evans, Scientific Editor (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, US); Prof. R. Geoff Richards, Editor-in-Chief, co-founder eCM (AO Research Institute Davos, CH); Prof. Christine Hartmann, Scientific Editor (University of Muenster, Muenster, DE). Back: Dr. T. Fintan Moriarty, Scientific Editor (AO Research Institute Davos, Davos, CH); Prof. Brian Johnstone, Scientific Editor (Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, US); Prof. Stephen Ferguson, Scientific Editor (ETH, Zürich, CH); Dr. Juerg Gasser, Scientific Editor (Novartis, Basel, CH); Prof. Martin Stoddart, Scientific Editor ( Research Institute Davos, Davos, CH); Prof. Joost de Bruijn, Scientific Editor (University of Twente, Twente, NL); Prof. Thimios Mitsiadis, Scientific Editor ( University of Zurich, Zurich, CH).

1999-12-16 00:00:00

AO Clinical Investigation and Documentation

Documentation has been a pillar of the AO Foundation since the very beginning. The first AO Documentation Center was created by Maurice E Müller in 1959, using a punch card system (see second photo), 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 on December 16, 1999 in response to the challenge of creating and publishing clinical evidence—a new norm of modern medicine.

2000-11-01 00:00:00

AO Principles of Fracture Management, First Edition, published

2003-11-01 00:00:00

First AOSpine course held

2003-11-01 00:00:00

AOSpine formed

AOSpine was formed to create an international community of spine surgeons generating, distrib-uting, and exchanging knowledge to advance science and the spine care profession through research, education, and community development. With this collaborative approach AOSpine continues to advance spine care worldwide.

2006-11-01 00:00:00

AO sells Synthes brand name and related intellectual property

2006-11-01 00:00:00

AO Surgery Reference launched

AO Surgery Reference is an online resource for the management of fractures, 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 also assembles relevant published AO material.

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.

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.

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, fostering innovation across five focus areas: education, patient care, knowledge sharing, outreach, and research.

2014-11-01 00:00:00

AORecon formed

AORecon was formed in response to the rising number of joint preservation and replacement cases globally by founding a community of experts dedicated to delivering the corresponding education.

2015-01-01 00:00:00

AO Alliance Foundation established

The 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-income countries. Founding fathers: Chris Colton, Paul Demmer, Norbert Haas, James Hughes, James F Kellam, Peter Matter, Joseph Schatzker, Chris van der Werken, John Croser, René Marti, and Hansjörg Wyss.

2015-11-01 00:00:00

Cooperation Agreement signed with DePuy Synthes

2015-11-01 00:00:00

First AORecon course held

2016-08-01 00:00:00

AO Invest

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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