The History of AOSpine—from conception to the leading global spine society 

The AO (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen) was founded in 1958 by a group of four Swiss surgeons: Maurice E. Müller, Robert Schneider, Hans Willenegger, and Martin Allgöwer. Click here for a detailed history of the AO Foundation.

In the late 1990s, a group of spine surgeons led by John Webb, Max Aebi, and Paul Pavlov, supported by the AO's industrial partners, pushed for greater autonomy for the spine surgeons within the AO.

Max Aebi Paul Pavlov Michael Janssen John O'Dowd Dante Marchesi
John Webb
Founding member​
Max Aebi​
Founding member
Paul Pavlov​
Founding member
Michael Janssen​
Founding member
John O'Dowd​
Founding member
Dante Marchesi
Founding member​

In 2000, the Board of Directors of the AO Foundation, having recognized the special needs and the market dynamics of spine, created an AO Specialty Board for Spine Surgery.

The Board was then given the responsibility to grow the Spine Specialty as a key competence of the AO Foundation, with a charter to specifically manage and promote the distinctive needs and desires of spine surgeons within the AO. 

Following a pilot period from 2000 to 2003, AOSpine was formally established and has grown through a number of transformative phases led by the following AOSpine International Chairpersons: 

John Webb Max Aebi Michael Janssen Luiz Vialle Jeffrey Wang  
John Webb
Jan 2001 – Dec 2002
Max Aebi
Jan 2003  Dec 2005​
Michael Janssen
Jan 2006  Apr 2009​
Luiz Vialle
May 2009  Jul 2012​
Jeffrey Wang
Aug 2012  Jun 2015​
Dan Riew
​Jul 2015

Additional highlights from 2003 to 2017 include: 

  • 2003:  Establishment of 4 AOSpine regional boards 
  • 2003:  Founding of the AOSpine Research Network 
  • 2004:  Creation of the AOSpine Education Commission 
  • 2007:  Launch of the AOSpine Membership Program 
  • 2008:  Introduction of the World Forum for Spine Research in Kyoto, Japan 
  • 2009:  Introduction of the Global Spine Congress in San Francisco, USA 
  • 2010:  AOSpine Education Curriculum development
  • 2010:  Launch of the AOSpine Knowledge Forums 
  • 2011:  Global Spine Congress in Barcelona, Spain 
  • 2012:  World Forum for Spine Research in Helsinki, Finland 
  • 2013:  Global Spine Congress in Hong Kong
  • 2014: World Forum for Spine Research in Xi'an, China
  • 2015: Global Spine Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2016: World Forum for Spine Research in Dubai
  • 2016: Global Spine Congress in Dubai
  • 2017: Global Spine Congress in Milan

Today, AOSpine has a community of 6'000 Members & 23'000 associates, surgeons, researchers, and allied spine professionals. AOSpine continues to grow, taking the AO model to a new level by providing new programs, new ideas, and a team committed to spine!