The HKCOS was founded in 1993, with the formation of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine. The HKCOS became one of 12 colleges under the Academy umbrella and was one of the first specialty colleges to be established. The roots of the College, however, stretch back to 1951 when Hong Kong University establishment a specialist orthopedic unit at Queen Mary Hospital.
The formal training of orthopaedic surgeons in Hong Kong came a decade later, with the inception of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1961 while the Hong Kong Orthopaedic Association, formed in 1965, started to organize the academic and social affairs for the Orthopaedic fraternity in Hong Kong. It is a role it continues today.
Hong Kong's first orthopaedic training programmes followed the practice of the United Kingdom in terms of the training and accreditation of specialised doctors, where orthopaedic trainees have to pass stringent exit exams, followed by a period of overseas practice.
Initially, from the 1960s to 1984, orthopaedics training fulfilled the requirements of the UK's Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons exam. From 1985 to 1991, the Australasian College took up the role of organising the exit exams. From 1991 to 1996, this role was replaced by the HKCOS. From 1997 to the present day, the HKCOS has been sharing this responsibility with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
With the development of new concepts and techniques in orthopaedic medicine worldwide, such as sub-specialisation, minimally invasive procedures and computer-assisted surgery, the HKCOS is constantly evolving and updating its training curriculum to reflect these radical changes.
Due to the rapid development in this field, the HKCOS feels it is essential for orthopaedic surgeons to continue to upgrade their knowledge and skills. To this end, it provides training for continuous professional development to all registered orthopaedic surgeons practicing in Hong Kong.