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ABS Establishes New Requirement for Endoscopic Training and Assessment

March 6, 2014 Media Contact: Christine Shiffer, 215-568-4000

A new national curriculum in endoscopy to be required of all general surgery trainees

  • The American Board of Surgery (ABS), the national certifying body for general surgeons and related specialists, announces a new requirement to ensure all ABS-certified general surgeons have completed a standard curriculum in the use of endoscopic techniques. This new requirement will apply to applicants for board certification in general surgery who complete their residency training in the 2017-2018 academic year or thereafter.

    Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum (pdf)

  • During their general surgery residency, applicants will be required to have completed the ABS Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum (pdf). The curriculum provides a consistent instructional program for residents to acquire the essential knowledge and skills to perform flexible endoscopy.
  • The Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum is designed to provide general surgery residency programs with a stepwise, milestone-based program for the teaching of endoscopic procedures over the five years of residency. For each step (level), there are a variety of suggested resources, including direct links to content on the SCORE® Portal (www.surgicalcore.org). The ABS is not mandating the use of any particular resource and encourages programs to take advantage of the resources for endoscopic training already in existence at their institution.
  • Programs should track residents' progress by documenting when each level of the curriculum is completed. In addition, one of the final milestones in the curriculum is successful completion of the Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery™ (FES) program offered by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). FES provides an objective, validated assessment of a surgeon's competency in flexible endoscopy and includes didactic materials, a multiple-choice examination, and a hands-on skills test. Residents will be required to provide evidence of FES certification when applying for ABS certification.
  • The FES didactic materials are available without charge at www.fesdidactic.org. Preparation for the FES skills test can be achieved using resources already available at an institution—purchase of a simulator is neither necessary nor required. Further information about the FES program and exam is available at www.fesprogram.org.
  • The Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum was carefully developed in collaboration with SAGES, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract to address concerns regarding variability in the endoscopic training obtained by general surgery residents. Endoscopy is one of the top five procedures performed by ABS-certified general surgeons and in many areas general surgeons are the only available providers of endoscopic services. The new requirement will give the public greater assurance that ABS-certified general surgeons have obtained sufficient training in the use of endoscopy to treat gastrointestinal diseases.
  • For questions regarding this new requirement, please contact the ABS coordinator.
About the ABS
  • The American Board of Surgery is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Surgeons certified by the ABS have completed at least five years of surgical training following medical school and successfully completed a written and oral examination process administered by the ABS. They must then maintain their board certification through ongoing learning and practice improvement activities.
  • The ABS offers board certification in general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, surgery of the hand, hospice and palliative medicine, and complex general surgical oncology. It is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.