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American Board of Abdominal Surgery


The American Board
of Abdominal Surgery

Photo of Dr. Blaise F. Alfano Memorial Center

The American Society of Abdominal Surgeons sponsors the American Board of Abdominal Surgery. The information of the ABAS can be found in the Informational Booklet which is reproduced here.

The American Board of Abdominal Surgery

Abdominal Surgery is defined as surgery pertaining to the contents of the abdominal cavity, its walls and orifices.

In 1958, the American Board of Abdominal Surgery was legally chartered in the State of Delaware. Two years later, June 1960, the Founders Group was closed. These members received the “Founders Group Certificates”, after meeting and fulfilling the established qualifications and requirements at that time.

In April 1962, The Board of Governors, under the Chairmanship of Edward J. Krol, M. D., who was then Chairman of the Section of General Surgery of the
American Medical Association, with the assistance of Blaise F. Alfano, M. D., Secretary of the Section of General Surgery, undertook a review of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery and activated the Diplomate classification. All members of the Founders Group, including the officers, were required and were given the opportunity to take a comprehensive examination, written and oral, covering the basic sciences, anatomy, physiology, pathology, radiology, and clinical surgery in the abdominal field. Examinations, written and oral, have been given every year since activation in April 1962 by the American Board of Abdominal Surgery.

Exemptions were made for those members of the Founders Group who had previously taken and passed a qualifying examination.

Then and only then were certificates granted and issued to those of the Founders Group who had demonstrated their qualification and proficiency to become Diplomates of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery. Approximately 2265 Diplomate Certificates were authorized and granted.

The American Board of Abdominal Surgery urges all surgeons engaged in abdominal surgery or a specific area of abdominal surgery be qualified and proficient in all phases of surgery within the abdominal cavity. Urologists, gynecologists and vascular surgeons who perform abdominal surgery could qualify to sit for certification by the American Board of Abdominal Surgery.

Following completion of a Residency in General Surgery, as outlined in the American Medical Association Graduate Medical Education Directory and reviewing the qualifications to sit for the examinations of the American Board of Surgery, one realizes this educational requirement is too broad in its scope. Specialization must be more defined and refined. The specialty of General Surgery, as defined in the American Medical Association Graduate Medical Education Directory, lists fifteen plus areas of “training”, one of which is the abdomen and its contents, including the alimentary tract. There exists today only the American Board of Abdominal Surgery which restricts certification to those surgeons who qualify for and pass the examinations and limit their surgical practice to abdominal surgery.

The American Board of Abdominal Surgery is not a duplicative Board.

The increased awareness by the general public of recent advances in medicine and surgery has resulted in their seeking the services of specialists when the occasion arises in order to make the best use of these advances.

An editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association of November 15, 1965 concerning “Specialty Boards” stated:

“Professional people may establish any specialty board they desire, and there is, of course, no obligation on the part of any board that it seek approval by AMA, or that it meet AMA standards.”

Specialty board certification has been used to identify the specialist in each field. However, it was not until the American Board of Abdominal Surgery was founded that proper identification could be sought for those doing Abdominal Surgery. The Board establishes definition, standards and requirements which abolishes the confusion existing as to who is qualified to perform Abdominal Surgery. This will no doubt help to solve the bitter controversies and petty squabbles that continue to exist between segments of the profession and which have not been solved by previously existing organizations and methods.

PURPOSE
The purpose of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery is to actively assist in improving the quality of graduate education in the field of Abdominal Surgery, to establish minimum educational and training standards for the field of Abdominal Surgery, to determine whether candidates have received adequate preparation as defined by the Board, to provide comprehensive examinations to determine the ability and fitness of such candidates, and to certify to the qualifications of those surgeons who have satisfied the requirements of the Board, as a protection to the public and the profession.

QUALIFICATIONS

GENERAL
An ethical, moral and professional status acceptable to the Board.

Engagement in the practice of abdominal surgery. (at least 85%).

Graduation from an accredited school of allopathic or osteopathic medicine approved by the American Medical Association, or from a foreign medical school acceptable to the Board.

A license to practice medicine in any of the fifty states, territories, or possessions.

Active engagement in the practice of surgery as indicated by having admitting privileges to a surgical service in an accredited health care organization.

Completion of an approved five-year residency program in general surgery.

The process will consist of :

  1. Current delineation of privileges.
  2. Listing of abdominal procedures performed
    for the last three years.
  3. Morbidity and mortality reports.
  4. Surgical audit (performance outcome).
  5. Were there any disciplinary actions? If so, your
    response with dates.
  6. Cite any malpractice records.
  7. List your attendance in continuing medical
    education in abdominal surgery. (It is
    recommended a minimum of 25 credits/year
    category 1, be attended.)
  8. A personal interview with members of the
    Education Committee of the American
    Board of Abdominal Surgery.

FELLOWSHIP
The Fellowship is a full year (12 months) program to provide additional specialized training and examine outcomes of those individuals aspiring to become Board certified in abdominal surgery. The American Board in Abdominal Surgery is the only certifying Board in abdominal surgery.

The American Board of Abdominal Surgery has been in existence for 47 years (1957), and has given examinations every year since that time. Currently there are 2700 Diplomates of the ABAS. The American Board of Abdominal Surgery is a strong proponent of Specialty Specific Continuing Surgical/Medical Education. It is also our position that competency can be determined only by outcomes which are enhanced by qualifications. The development of an expanded curricula includes current procedures and practices in abdominal surgery.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
The Fellowship is to increase the training and experience in abdominal surgery for those individuals who have completed the five years of residency in General Surgery, those who have not completed five years of training in General Surgery and those who wish to augment and document their training in abdominal surgery and for all those desirous of continuity in their training to qualify to perform contiguous abdominal surgery. General surgeons desirous of gaining additional proficiency in the objectives of the Fellowship Program could also qualify in this endeavor.

Admission to the Fellowship Program is based on the above-cited criteria.

Established criteria for admission as a Diplomate as
required:

  1. Completion of a full five year program in general surgery. This is to be followed by a one year full time fellowship, in which 150 documented operative cases in minimally invasive surgery must be performed.
    or
    Five years of abdominal surgical practice in which a minimum of 750 documented cases of abdominal surgery have been performed. (At least 50% minimally invasive)
  2. Four years of post graduate surgical training requires a full two year fellowship.
  3. Less than four years of post graduate training will be evaluated on a person by person basis. This will require presentation of cases performed, documented and adherence to guidelines of the ABAS Quality Activities Committee. Other surgical specialties could qualify under this requirement.
  4. Fully completed residency in gynecological surgery. This is to be followed by a two year full-time fellowship and is intended to complement this person’s surgical experience to facilitate handling of contiguous surgical problems.
  5. Application for the Fellowship must be made directly to the American Board of Abdominal Surgery.

GENERAL INFORMATION
Only an ABAS Diplomate can serve as a Preceptor

  1. Fellowship will serve as the hospital appointment to qualify for application for admission to the ABAS examinations. The application should be made during Fellowship to sit for the ABAS qualifying examination.
  2. The Hospital must be an approved hospital by the State/Federal government issuing the Hospital a license and be approved for Medicare and Medicaid, where so required.
  3. The Hospital will credential the Fellow, who must be in possession of licensing, permitting him to pursue his training.
  4. The Fellow is not an agent nor an employee of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery.

PRECEPTOR RESPONSIBILITIES
Approval as a Preceptor requires selection by the Board of Governors of the ABAS.

  1. He must sign an agreement with the Preceptee as to:
    • Duration of Fellowship
    • Malpractice Insurance
    • Financial arrangements
    • Responsibilities of the Preceptee toward
    • the Preceptor and Hospital
    • Health Insurance and Worker’s Compensation
  2. Monthly Report to ABAS of cases done and outcomes (using quality activities guidelines). It must be a daily running account.
  3. Preceptor’s signature/initial after each case.
  4. Preceptor to submit a monthly evaluation of the Preceptee with case reports to ABAS.
  5. Preceptor to define responsibilities and expectations of Preceptee.
  6. Impact statement from Hospital Administrator to ABAS, yearly.
  7. The Preceptor is not an agent nor an employee of the ABAS.

The Preceptor is to notify the Credentials Committee of the name of the Preceptee, address, length of Fellowship, stipulating dates, previous training, attestations signed to the effect he has read the Preceptor/Preceptee relationship as outlined in this document and understands and accepts same.

PRECEPTEE
RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Understand responsibilities to patients, Preceptor and Hospital

The goal of the Fellowship is for the Preceptee to perform a minimum of 150 cases of minimallyinvasive abdominal surgery. These should involve minimally-invasive and open surgeries; e.g., hernia, liver, gallbladder, common duct, stomach, spleen, pancreas, large and small bowel, appendectomy, retro peritoneal tumor, etc. If this number of cases cannot be attained, the Preceptee can do additional fellowship training concurrently with another qualified ABAS Diplomate, following the same requirements. The Preceptee must be involved in the pre-op evaluation and work-up, the post-op care, and discharge planning as well as in the surgical procedure.

APPLICATIONS AND EXAMINATIONS FOR DIPLOMATE STATUS
Candidates applying for certification by the American
Board of Abdominal Surgery should request application
forms by December of the year preceding completion of
their training.

Directions are to be adhered to, in order to expedite the process. The application is to be accompanied by a $200.00 US, non-refundable processing fee, which is not applicable to any other fees. The candidate will be notified if he is eligible to sit for the qualifying examination.

EXAMINATIONS
Qualifying examinations, (Part I) will be held in the Fall and Certifying examinations, (Part II) in the Spring.

Those candidates for ABAS certification who have successfully completed Part I of the certification process will not have to undergo the qualifying examination of the ABAS.

Others doing abdominal surgery, board certified in their surgical specialty, will need to sit for both the qualifying and certifying examinations of the ABAS.

The policy of the ABAS is an inclusionary one (as opposed to exclusionary) and not one based on a quota system.

FEES
Application for the qualifying examination:

1. Before June 15 $200.00 US
2. Between June 15 and Sept. 15 $450.00 US
 
Qualifying Examination: $400.00 US
Payable with reply before September 30
 
Certifying Examination: $600.00 US
Payable with reply before March 30
   
Make-up Examination: $400.00 US
 
Qualifying  
Certifying $600.00 US
     Slides, X-Rays etc $300.00 US
     Oral $300.00 US
     Recertification $500.00 US

The same schedule applies for all make-up examinations.

DIPLOMATE
RECERTIFICATION

The Diplomate, prior to the year process of re-application, will receive by mail, the requirements by which Recertification is awarded. The Diplomate is expected to send a letter of intent, accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of $500.00 payable to the American Board of Abdominal Surgery, prior to the one-year Recertification process.

The process will consist of :

  1. Current delineation of privileges.
  2. Listing of abdominal procedures performed for the last three years.
  3. Morbidity and mortality reports.
  4. Surgical audit (performance outcome).
  5. Were there any disciplinary actions? If so, your response with dates.
  6. Cite any malpractice records.
  7. List your attendance in continuing medical education in abdominal surgery. (It is recommended a minimum of 25 credits/year category 1, be attended.)
  8. A personal interview with members of the Education Committee of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery.

A letter is to be directed to the Secretary of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery requesting the application.

This process is secretarial time consuming and a fee for the use of an outside CME broker will be required for confirmation of attendance and of course specific material.

The fee for Recertification is . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .500.00

REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATION
Any certificate issued by the American Board of Abdominal Surgery is subject to revocation at any time if there is falsification of any part of the application or required documentation.

The American Board of Abdominal Surgery reserves the right to change requirements, procedures and fees, without prior notification

Reviewed 2004

Office of the Secretary
824 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Ste. 1
Melrose,Massachusetts 02176

The American Board of Abdominal Surgery is a Not-for-Profit
organization. No member of the Board of Trustees, officers
or Board of Governors receives any stipend.

Apply for Board Certificiation

Request an application from the ABAS Melrose office and have the materials sent to you immediately.

You may request the materials by :

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