The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) describes itself as “the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists”[1].

AAOS was created to encourage continuing education, provide access to educational resources and to give all orthopaedic surgeons practicing in North America a national forum for discussion and scientific exchange [2].

AAOS is a key provider of musculoskeletal education to orthopedic surgeons around the world. The academy offers continuing medical education (CME) activities, multiple CME courses across the country, an Orthopaedic Learning Center and holds a prominent annual meeting for members to share research, exchange ideas and promote its values to a wider national and international audience.

Brief history

Founded in 1933 AAOS was initially created to provide a national forum for the steadily increasing numbers of orthopedic surgeons in the United States [3]. The original purpose of the academy as set out by its charter at the time included the advancement of the principles and practice of orthopedic surgery, the certification of orthopedic specialists, the standardization of orthopedic nomenclature and most importantly to serve as a link between the American Orthopedic Association (AOA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) [4].

From this beginning and with many of the original goals still in mind, over the next 70 years AAOS would evolve to become the largest orthopedic organization in the world [5].


The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons mission and vision is as follows:

“Serving our profession to provide the highest quality musculoskeletal care and keeping the world in motion through the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.”
-AAOS website [6]


As of 2015 AAOS has a membership of approximately 39,000 orthopaedic surgeons. With such a large membership, this academy serves patients of all ages, abilities and capabilities.

Recommended PRO Measures

The AAOS has been involved in the development of a large number of outcome reporting tools. These instruments help monitor patient outcomes following surgical interventions or help quantify the effectiveness of specific treatments.

The following Instruments were developed by the AAOS (in collaboration with other orthopaedic specialty societies and related organizations):

  • AAOS Hip and knee
  • AAOS Foot and ankle
  • AAOS Lower limb questionnaire
  • PODCI/POSNA (pediatric and adolescent versions available) Outcomes Instrument

Contribution to Registries

The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) was established to help develop a national center for data collection. In 2009, in partnership with AAOS the American Joint Replacement Registry was created with the goal of optimizing patient outcomes via data collection on all primary and revision total joint replacement procedures in the United States. Since its creation, the Joint Replacement Registry has grown to over 620 participating hospitals with over 400,000 procedures in their database [7].