FAQs - General Information for Diplomates

Diplomates may take a traditional recertification exam three years before their certificate's expiration; this includes the final year of certificate validity. We will notify you when you are eligible to recertify. Please see also information about our new general surgery assessment process.
Diplomates with lapsed certificates are eligible to take a traditional recertification exam as long as the certificate is not currently revoked. There is no time limit once a certificate has lapsed. Please see our Lapsed Certificate Policy for more details, including information about a special pathway using our new general surgery assessment process.
Diplomates are automatically enrolled in the ABS Continuous Certification Program upon certification or recertification in any ABS specialty after July 2005. Your first five-year cycle will begin the Jan. 1 following the academic year in which you passed the exam that enrolled you in Continuous Certification; check your status anytime at My Continuous Certification. Once enrolled, diplomates must adhere to program requirements to maintain all ABS certificates they hold.
We are completely separate and distinct organizations. We have been based in Philadelphia since our founding in 1937, while the ACS is based in Chicago.
We do not. We believe credentialing decisions are best made by locally constituted bodies and should be based on an individual's extent of training, depth of experience, patient outcomes relative to peers, and certification status.
Only if you make clear the certification is no longer valid by using "former diplomate," "past diplomate," the dates of your certification, etc. Otherwise it will be considered misrepresentation of your certification status. Please see also Diplomate Representation of Certification Status.
Use of the ABS seal/logo for promotional purposes is not permitted. You are welcome, however, to link to the ABS website so patients can learn more about ABS certification and verify their surgeon's certification status.
Please send your information in writing to the ABS addressed to Jo Buyske, M.D., Executive Director. Please include copies or examples in which the surgeon misrepresented him- or herself, such as magazine ads, letterhead, website printouts, etc. Generally no action can be taken based on verbal misrepresentations, only on those where printed misrepresentations are present.
The ABS will issue only one certificate per diplomate; we do not provide multiple copies. If your original certificate has been destroyed or lost, you may request a replacement by sending a notarized letter to the ABS office stating the reason for the replacement along with a check for $150. The replacement certificate will have a disclaimer at the bottom stating "Reissued in lieu of original certificate" and will have the signatures of the current ABS officers. Replacements typically take six to eight weeks. If you need written verification of your certification status in the interim, please go to Check a Certification.