Lapsed Certificates

Traditional Lapsed Entry Pathway

  • Surgeons with lapsed certificates in any ABS specialty may regain their certification by catching up on their Continuous Certification requirements as needed (go to My Continuous Certification to check your status), and passing a traditional recertification exam.
  • New Assessment Entry Pathway

  • Lapsed certificate holders now have the option of regaining their general surgery certification using the new general surgery assessment process. This entry pathway will only be available for three years: 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • To regain your general surgery certification through this pathway, you will need to register and begin taking the new assessment no later than 2020 — the final year of pathway window.
  • 5-Year Period
  • Once registered, you will be required to take and pass the general surgery assessment each year for five consecutive years. You will regain your ABS certification in the same year that you pass the first assessment in this five-year period. Your continued certification will be contingent on passing the assessment each year, as well as meeting the other Continuous Certification Program requirements.
  • After the five-year period, you would then take the assessments on the standard schedule of every other year, with a grace year available in the alternating year if necessary.
  • Registration
  • Registration for this pathway will start as of Aug. 1, 2018, and will require the following items submitted through the ABS website:
  • CME: Information regarding the completion of 150 Category 1 CME credits related to your practice from the past five years (calendar years or more recent 60-month period), of which at least 50 must include self-assessment (test or quiz that requires at least 75% correct). This can be added now to your CME Repository if you wish.
  • Institutional References: References forms completed by the chair of surgery and chair of credentials committee at the institution where you perform most of your work. If necessary, another physician(s) of comparable rank may complete the form.
  • Peer References: Two additional reference forms from peer board-certified physicians (ABMS or AOA) who are familiar with your practice or current activities (cannot be a relative or close acquaintance).
  • Operative Report: A 12-month operative experience report from the institution where you perform most of your work. Diplomates who no longer operate may submit alternative information about their practice.
  • Practice Improvement: Verification of your participation in one or more practice improvement activities, if clinically active.
  • Fee: Administrative fee of $500.
Check Your Status
  • Diplomates whose certificates have recently lapsed or who hold other ABS certificates may already have some of these items on file; go to My Continuous Certification to view your status.
  • If you submitted reference forms within five years, and an operative report within 10 years (in any specialty), they do not need to be resubmitted. However, they will not be listed in your profile until the forms are accessible later this spring.
  • We plan to have the reference forms and operative report available before Aug. 1, and will notify lapsed diplomates at that time. While submission of materials is an entirely online process, the information you submit is subject to audit by the ABS.
  • Going forward, once you pass the first assessment, the CME requirement will change to 125 CME credits over five years with no self-assessment.
  • Changes to certification status from "Not Certified" to "Certified" will be updated several weeks after the close of the assessment window, once results have been validated.
  • Assessment Fees
  • Participation in the new assessment process requires an annual fee of $285 for all diplomates, which covers one assessment every other year and general program participation. A small additional fee of $50 each will be charged for the two extra assessments required during the five-year period (in years 2 and 4).
  • Upon the closing of the window in 2021, a traditional recertification exam will again be required to regain general surgery certification.

For specific inquiries regarding this policy, please contact the Continuous Certification coordinator.

Updated: September 2018