The AO foundation has released some of our favorite medical apps.

The most useful one is AO Surgery reference. This app contains lots of detailed trauma reference information including specific treatment and management with lots of images and examples.

In our previous review, we concluded that:

“AO Surgery Reference is a must-download for anybody with an interest in trauma and fracture management. The scope and depth of content is unrivalled on this platform and the developers have done a fantastic job creating a simple easy to use app. Highly recommended.”

Read on for a detailed review of the AO Surgery Reference HD app for iPad.

The AO Surgery Reference app for the iPad aims to maximize utility by taking advantage of the additional screen real estate.

Like the original app, the AO Surgery Reference HD app is based on a popular online surgery reference guide, the AO Surgery Reference. This is an internet-based 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.

Launching the app brings the user to a familiar skeleton which they can tap to select an area that has a fracture. The extra screen size from the iPad makes finding the right area significantly easier.

Once a particular anatomical region has been selected the user can easily switch between the main tabs which are labeled at the top of the screen. This makes the app considerably easier to use than the iPhone version. On that version you have to scroll laterally through all the tabs.

The functionality of the app is essentially unchanged from the iPhone version in the sense that you select an anatomical region. Once you have done this, the app automatically takes you to the diagnosis stage and on to decision making and so on. The extra screen size is really noticeable and a substantial positive improvement in the overall usability.

The main advantage is that you can continue to see all the treatment options available while also accessing the main data. For more details of the specifics of how to use the app, check out our review of the iPhone version as this has essentially remained unchanged. The additional screen space also allows for larger diagrams which are easier to read.

It is disappointing that there are still regions which are not catered for, such as the pelvic ring or forearm. It is still also essential to have internet access in order to access all the functionality of the app. This can be frustrating if you are in an area of limited connectivity.


  • Free


  • Excellent user interface
  • Detailed content for a wide variety of traumatic fractures


  • Still no data on pelvic ring or forearm shaft
  • App requires internet access


  • The AO Surgery Reference HD brings all the excellent content and detail from the iPhone version and merges it with a well thought out user interface which maximizes all the screen space available. An essential app for any orthopaedic surgeon.

iTunes Link

Rating: (1 to 5 stars): 5/5

  • User interface – 5
  • Multimedia usage – N/A
  • Price – 5
  • Real world applicability – 5

This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.