Get Certified
General Surgery


Surgeons may enter the ABS certification process following successful completion of an ACGME- or RCPSC- accredited general surgery residency program.


Specialty of general surgery defined

General surgery is a discipline that requires knowledge of and responsibility for the preoperative, operative, and postoperative management of patients with a broad spectrum of diseases, including those which may require nonoperative, elective, or emergency surgical treatment. The breadth and depth of this knowledge may vary by disease category. Surgical management requires skill in complex decision making; general surgeons should be competent in diagnosis as well as treatment and management, including operative intervention.

The certified general surgeon demonstrates broad knowledge and experience in conditions affecting the:
In addition, the certified general surgeon demonstrates broad knowledge and experience in:
The field of general surgery as a specialty comprises, but is not limited to, the performance of operations and procedures relevant to the content areas listed above. It is expected that the certified surgeon will also have additional knowledge and experience relevant to the above areas in the following categories:
The certified general surgeon also is expected to have knowledge and skills for diseases requiring team-based interdisciplinary care, including related leadership competencies. Certified general surgeons additionally must possess knowledge of the unique clinical needs of the following specific patient groups:

In some circumstances, the certified general surgeon provides care in the disease areas of vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, thoracic surgery, burns, and solid organ transplantation. However, comprehensive knowledge and management of conditions in these areas generally requires additional training.

In unusual circumstances, the certified general surgeon may provide care for patients with problems in adjacent fields such as obstetrics and gynecology, urology, and hand surgery.

Booklet of Information

All current policies, procedures and relevant information related to certification in general surgery.

The ABS Booklet of Information for General Surgery is published annually to outline the requirements for board certification in general surgery. Potential applicants are encouraged to review it.

Focused Practice Designation

Recognizes diplomates who have focused their practice on one particular aspect of a given field of surgery

Focused Practice Designation (FPD) is a new designation of ABMS member boards that can be used to recognize diplomates of the ABS who have focused their clinical practice in areas outside of standard ACGME-recognized specialties. These practice areas must meet certain standards of the ABS and ABMS that may be revised from time to time.

Osteopathic / D.O. Pathway

Osteopathic trainees are required to meet all ABS requirements for certification in effect at the time of application

Residents in enrolled in an osteopathic surgical training program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Medical Education (ACGME) may enter the ABS certification process.

The ABS requires that graduates of training programs in pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgery oncology, and hand surgery first be certified by the ABS in general surgery to be eligible for certification in these specialties. Residents in osteopathic surgical training programs that become accredited by the ACGME will be required to meet ABS requirements for certification in general surgery as outlined and achieve certification in general surgery prior to pursuing certification in these other specialties.


Policies related to initial certification in general surgery

Candidates will be expected to be aware of and abide by all policies related to initial certification in general surgery throughout the certification process.