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Hundreds of peer-reviewed orthopaedic surgical videos are available at the AAOS Orthopaedic Theater, accessible through the AAOS OrthoPortal.
Courtesy of iStockphoto\Thinkstock


Published 10/1/2011
Reid Stanton

Introducing the AAOS Orthopaedic Theater

Peer review makes the difference

How would you like easy access to a growing library of peer-reviewed orthopaedic surgical videos? That’s what you get with the AAOS Orthopaedic Theater, accessible through the AAOS OrthoPortal.

Orthopaedic Theater’s online collection of peer-reviewed orthopaedic surgical videos includes programs from the Annual Meeting’s Multimedia Education Center for the past 3 years. You can choose from more than 130 full-length, peer-reviewed videos on topics from anatomy and arthroscopy to surgical techniques and treatment of complications for your online viewing. Plus, during 2012, another 30 to 40 videos will be added to the site.

The importance of peer review
With the proliferation of online orthopaedic video sites, why should you turn to the Orthopaedic Theater? What difference does it make that every video in the Orthopaedic Theater is peer-reviewed? Consider the following:

Your time is valuable. You don’t want to spend it squinting at a grainy video of a procedure you need to review. You don’t want to try and identify anatomic landmarks over the shoulder of the operating physician. You don’t want to hear the narrator mention the implant maker’s name in every other sentence, nor do you want the voice to fade away after saying, “You must be especially careful to …”

You do want to ensure that your learning time is well spent—especially when you are learning or reviewing a procedure outside your main area of expertise.

Peer-reviewed videos from the AAOS present anatomy, treatments, and techniques that are appropriate for the circumstances presented. These high-quality videos enhance your ability to learn while watching. And, every program is free of industry bias.

Quality education
The goal of the Academy’s peer-review process is to ensure high-quality education. Orthopaedic Theater videos are peer reviewed by topic experts and/or members of the Multimedia Education Center Subcommittee under the direction of the Academy’s Annual Meeting Program Committee.

Of the hundreds of videos that committee members review in a typical year, approximately 40 percent fail to pass peer review. Another 30 percent of videos are accepted conditionally; the authors must make changes to improve the video’s clarity, educational value, quality, and/or relevance to pass review.

As a result, the Orthopaedic Theater includes videos that provide valuable education, clarify or eliminate risky situations and unproven or potentially harmful techniques, and include the pearls and pitfalls that orthopaedic surgeons need to improve patient outcomes. The process also allows for videos that include innovative techniques—provided the techniques are presented with appropriate caveats and evidence.

As a viewer, you benefit from peer review in ways that are not immediately obvious. For example, Orthopaedic Theater videos must show more than just a clear surgical technique. They must also include indications, pre- and postoperative images, external operating site views, outcomes, and references. In addition, videos in the Orthopaedic Theater are regularly monitored; those that feature techniques that are no longer considered acceptable in orthopaedic practice or that have been superseded by new, more effective techniques are removed.

Grab a seat—roll the credits
Among the current offerings in the Orthopaedic Theater are the following: Patellar Fracture Fixation Using Minimal Hardware, Robotic Arm Guidance to Improve Accuracy in Lateral Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty, Pediatric Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction, and Two Surgical Approaches to Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty.

When you need a refresher on a surgical procedure, when you want to know what’s the most effective technique to use, or when you’re weighing the advantages of one approach over another, check out the Orthopaedic Theater. The ticket price is right—just $199 for AAOS members for a full year of viewing—whenever and wherever you want. For more information, visit and click on eMedia.

The AAOS acknowledges the orthopaedic surgeons, many of whom are pioneers in their field, who have contributed video and who participate in the peer-review process; the Orthopaedic Theater would not be possible without their efforts. AAOS also acknowledges the generous support of industry in producing some of the videos and their commitment to improving orthopaedic education with bias-free programming.

Reid Stanton is the AAOS manager of electronic media programs. He can be reached at

Praise for AAOS Orthopaedic Theater
“There has been an explosion of orthopaedic technique videos online. The problem is that the content is not peer reviewed or balanced. There is more to an operation than just the surgical technique video; indications for surgery, patient evaluation, imaging, postoperative management, complications, alternative treatments, alternative surgical techniques, and assessment of results are also paramount. The advantage of the AAOS videos, at the Orthopaedic Theater, is that they are peer reviewed, balanced, and comprehensive.”

Mininder S. Kocher, MD, MPH
Associate Director, Division of Sports Medicine, Children’s Hospital, Boston
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School

“In the absence of peer review, quality for scientific content is not ensured. Surgical technique videos present medical information of extremely variable quality. Although the editing process can ensure technical quality, only peer review can ensure a level of medical information that is of optimal value to patients and surgeons.”

J. Lawrence Marsh, MD
Professor, Carroll B. Larson Chair of Orthopedic
Surgery, Director of the Orthopaedic Residency Training Program, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics