This paper describes the structure of an orthopaedic atlas of the hip for the 3D operation planning. Furthermore, methods to transfer the atlas information to patient data sets are presented and evaluated. The atlas is used for the automatic recognition of anatomical structures that are needed during the virtual pre-operative planning of hip operations and the individual design of anatomically adaptable endoprostheses. The atlas based recognition method was evaluated using three manually pre-segmented 3D CT data sets of the hip. The mean, 98.2% of the bony voxels could be labeled correctly by the atlas based method.