Surgery of the Hand Certifying Examination
About the Exam
- The Surgery of the Hand Certifying Examination is a computer-based examination offered by the ABS in conjunction with the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It is required to achieve board certification in surgery of the hand. An applicant may enter the examination process only through one certifying board and may not apply to a different board for additional examination opportunities.
- The exam consists of multiple-choice questions designed to assess the applicant's cognitive knowledge and clinical judgment. It is a one-day exam lasting five hours and is offered annually through Prometric testing services (www.prometric.com).
- Active duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty taking the exam due to their service should contact the ABS as soon as possible (see also Military Activation Policy).
- Next Exam: September 9, 2013
- To be eligible to apply for this exam, applicants must:
- Certification: Be currently certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery and have been in the active practice of surgery of the hand for at least two years following the completion of any formal training.
- Medical License: Have a currently registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada. Applicants are required to immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
- Accredited Program: Have satisfactorily completed a one-year training program (48 weeks of full-time experience) in surgery of the hand accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
- Professional Activity: Be actively engaged in the practice of surgery of the hand.
- Adhere to the ABS Ethics and Professionalism Policy.
- Operative Log: Submit for the ABS' review a list of at least 125 cases managed during a consecutive 12-month period within the two years preceding application. Surgery of the hand includes only those procedures performed on the upper extremity distal to the elbow. The case list must include cases fulfilling at least six of the following nine categories:
|Category||Minimum Number of Cases|
|Bone and Joint||20|
|Tendon and Muscle||20|
|Skin and Wound Problems||14|
|Contracture and Joint Stiffness||10|
- Nonoperative cases are those which require significant evaluation, such as pain problems, and must be documented with consultation reports. No more than six nonoperative cases will be accepted.
- In the category of Bone and Joint, no fractures proximal to the wrist joint may be included. In the category of Nerve, no more than five cases of carpal tunnel syndrome may be included. In the category of Tendon and Muscle, no more than five cases of trigger finger may be included. In the category of Tumor, no more than five cases of ganglion may be included.
Examination Opportunities and Admissibility
- Once an application is approved, the applicant has a maximum of three opportunities within a five-year period to pass the examination.
- During the five-year period, examinees who postponed or were unsuccessful will be contacted regarding the next exam; a new application is not necessary.
- Applicants who exceed the above restrictions lose admissibility to the examination and should contact the ABS regarding the readmissibility requirements in effect at that time.
Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
- Candidates who successfully complete the examination are deemed certified in surgery of the hand and must thereafter participate in the ABS MOC Program to maintain their certificate. MOC requirements begin the July 1 following certification. See ABS MOC Requirements for more details.
For application forms and additional information, please send an e-mail to the examination coordinator.
For more information regarding certification in surgery of the hand, refer to the ABS Booklet on Specialty Certification (pdf).
- Application and Examination Dates
- Application and Examination Fees
- Surgery of the Hand Certifying Examination Content Outline (pdf)
- Surgery of the Hand Examination Statistics