FAQs - Recertification & MOC (General Info)

Recertification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) are considered by the ABS to be voluntary in exactly the same way as original certification.
Diplomates may first take for an MOC (recertification) exam three years prior to their certificate's expiration; this includes the final year of certificate validity. We will notify you when you are eligible to recertify; please keep your contact information current. If you recertify "early" (prior to the final year), you will receive a new certificate with an expiration date ten years from the expiration date of your previous certificate, not the date of recertification.
Diplomates with lapsed certificates are eligible to take an MOC (recertification) exam as long as the certificate is not currently revoked. There is no time limit once a certificate has lapsed. Diplomates with lapsed certificates must meet the current requirements in place.

Once your MOC exam registration has been approved, your status will change to "Not Certified - In the Examination Process." See also our Lapsed Certificate Policy for more details.
No. As of 1997, recertification in general surgery is not required for recertification in other ABS specialties.
Diplomates are automatically enrolled in MOC upon certification or recertification in any ABS specialty after July 2005. Your first MOC cycle will begin the Jan. 1 following the academic year in which you passed the exam that enrolled you in MOC. Once enrolled in MOC, diplomates must adhere to ABS MOC Requirements to maintain all ABS certificates they hold.
To order SESAP, call the American College of Surgeons at 800-621-4111 or see the SESAP page of their website. VESAP is provided by the Society for Vascular Surgery; call 800-258-7188 or see its website's VESAP page for more information.
No. We are completely separate and distinct organizations. The ABS is based in Philadelphia; we were founded to provide a certification process for surgeons to protect the public and improve the specialty. The ACS is a membership organization based in Chicago that acts on behalf of its members, who pay dues to belong.
No. 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. See also ABS Overview - Purpose of the ABS.
Only if you make clear the certification is no longer valid by using "former diplomate," "past diplomate," etc. Otherwise it will be considered misrepresentation of your certification status. See Diplomate Representation of Certification Status.
No. Use of the ABS seal/logo for promotional purposes is not permitted. Diplomates are welcome, however, to link to the ABS website so patients can learn more about ABS certification and verify their surgeon's certification status.
Send your information in writing to the ABS addressed to Frank R. Lewis, M.D., Executive Director. Please include copies or examples in which the surgeon misrepresented him- or herself, such as yellow page ads, letterhead, website printouts, etc. Generally no action can be taken based on verbal misrepresentations, only on those where printed misrepresentations are present.
It is the policy of the American Board of Surgery to issue only one certificate per diplomate. The original certificate is sent directly to the surgeon from the printing company; the ABS does not keep a copy on file. If you need written verification of your certification status, go to Check a Certification.

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 the replacement fee of $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. Replacement of a certificate typically takes six to eight weeks.
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