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ABS to Require ACLS, ATLS and FLS for General Surgery Certification

August 15, 2008 Media Contact: Christine Shiffer, 215-568-4000

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) announces new requirements for surgeons seeking board certification in general surgery that will better ensure these surgeons possess the critical skills needed for modern surgical practice. The new requirements will take effect as of July 1, 2009, and will apply to applicants for certification who complete their general surgery residency in the 2009-2010 academic year or thereafter.

  • These applicants will be required to have successfully completed the following programs:
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  • Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®)
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS)

Requiring completion of these programs is part of a broader ongoing effort by the ABS and the Surgical Council on Resident Education (SCORE) to standardize the knowledge and training obtained by general surgery residents. It also establishes additional objective measures that all U.S. surgeons applying for general surgery certification must meet.

ACLS is offered by the American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org) and teaches skills in the treatment of adult victims of cardiac arrest or other cardiopulmonary emergencies. ATLS is provided by the American College of Surgeons (www.facs.org/trauma/atls) and presents a systematic, concise approach to the early care of a trauma patient in a hospital emergency department.

FLS is a joint program of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. FLS teaches the physiology, knowledge and technical skills required in basic laparoscopic surgery, and includes hands-on skills training and assessment. Through an industry grant, FLS is available to U.S. general surgery programs free of charge through June 2010. Further details are available from www.flsprogram.org.

The three programs may be completed at any time during training and need only be taken once successfully to meet ABS requirements. Applicants are not required to be currently certified in these programs when applying for general surgery certification; they must only provide documentation of successful completion with their application.

About the ABS

The American Board of Surgery is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying surgeons who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge. The ABS certifies surgeons in the following fields: general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, surgery of the hand, and hospice and palliative medicine. The ABS is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.