Mobile Apps & Resources: AO Surgery Reference


AO Surgery Reference


Lance Fox & Ashley Jane Leonard

Version reviewed

Version 1.2.6 (Android); 2.0.1 (iOS)

Device & OS used

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4; 5.0.2 (Lance); iPad Air; 11.4.1 (Ashley)

Date of review

November 20, 2018 (Lance); November 7, 2018 (Ashley)



Image Source:AO Surgery Reference, Apple App Store. ‚ÄčRetrieved on November 26, 2018 from

App developer

Company Name:
AO Foundation



iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Requires iOS 8.0 or later.

Last updated(as per App Store Listing): April 4, 2017.

Android Smartphones and Tablets. Requires Android 4.1 and up.

Last updated (as per Google Play listing): May 10, 2017.

Country of origin






3.8 MB for Android; 23.2 MB for iOS




Not identified but appears to be geared towards orthopedic surgery

Surgical staff




Stated Purpose  


Gain easy access to the award-winning AO Surgery Reference. AO Surgery Reference is an online repository for surgical knowledge. It describes the complete surgical management process from diagnosis to aftercare for all fractures of a given anatomical region, and also assembles relevant material that the AO has published before. It gives access to:

* Hundreds of surgical procedures and approaches 
* Surgical decision making made easy with literature evaluated and prepared for quick reference 
* Hundreds of pages of previously published AO material 

The idea behind this service is the realization that reference in daily clinical life is often difficult. Frequently, there is little time during a hospital day to consult books or journals, or even to perform a literature search in order to gather evidence for a decision. The AO Surgery Reference allows surgeons to access much of the body of surgical knowledge for reference purposes during their clinical work.

You might also want to visit the full-featured web-based version of AO Surgery Reference at

Taken from the Google Play listing:



Info can be found in App Store or Google Play. 


Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

Information about the authors and dates of each entry is provided. Some entries are more recently updated than others. No grading system is used.

Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

Names of authors and their affiliations are provided for each entry but there is no way to contact them directly

The majority of entries have a related reference list (with the references linking to external articles or other references when possible). This is not true for all entries for adults, however, such as the “spine” entry.

The Pediatric section only contains 3 entries which appear to be from 2016. There are two more entries that say “coming soon” (they are not labeled, but appear to be the proximal forearm and forearm shaft). Citation lists are not provided.


Organization      of information


The information is organized by anatomical area.

Each anatomical area is then divided into different fracture types and information is provided in regards to diagnosis, decision, preparation, approach, reduction & fixation, and aftercare.

A legend is available to indicate the amount of skill and equipment required to perform each surgical procedure.

Lots of visual resources such as images, videos, diagrams, etc. make it very appealing.






An image of a skeleton (adult and pediatric) with each anatomical area clearly labeled is provided on the main screen. By selecting an area, it then allows you to select a fracture type to read more in-depth information.

An “I” icon is available to provide additional information for each procedure. This can include bullet point information and additional images..

There did not appear to be any real customization features available within this app

Internet connection required for use: Yes App requires Internet access beyond initial downloadText search field: Yes; Browsable content: Yes by subjectAdvertisements: No; Pop-up advertisements: NoIn-app purchases: No



There is also a full-featured web-based version of this App online at

The AO Spine App is also contained within the AO Surgery App

The App provides information and a link to AOTrauma, courses, seminars and other online events (can be found in most Appendix sections when you click into an anatomical area)


To keep you updated on the go, our ‘app of the month’ highlights one free informational app every month!


Librarian reviewers consider the audience and purpose of the apps, as well as highlighting additional features:
  • In the ‘Evidence’ section, we assess how easily an app user can identify the app’s currency and support from the evidence
  • In the ‘Usability’ section, we assess the organization of information and other usability factors that may contribute to user experience

Our complete grading criteria for evidence and usability are embedded in the review.

Please note that the reviewers are not healthcare professionals, and so cannot appraise the quality of any recommendations within the app. The reviews are not endorsements.

View the AHS policy on Mobile Wireless Devices and Services.