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American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

What is the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery?

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Inc. (ABOS) was founded in 1934 as a private, voluntary, nonprofit, independent organization to serve the best interests of the public and the medical profession. These interests are achieved through the ABOS by establishing standards for the education of orthopaedic surgeons. These standard are evaluated by the ABOS through examinations and practice evaluations.

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery is one of twenty-four certifying boards that have met the educational and organizational requirements necessary for the membership in the American Board of Medical Specialties. The Directors of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery are distinguished orthopaedic surgeons who are active in patient care, education and research.

What is Board Certification?

The board Certification process includes the following components:

  • Must have graduated from an accredited medical school and passed all examinations necessary to receive an unrestricted medical license.
  • Must have satisfactorily completed five years of graduate orthopaedic surgery education in an accredited orthopaedic surgery residency program in the United States or Canada. The residency training must include experience with all age groups in operative and non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, diseases and deformities in pediatric orthopaedics, total joint and other arthritis surgery, sports medicine, the spine foot and ankle, elbow and shoulder, hand, rehabilitation, fractures and other injuries, benign and malignant tumors of bone, joints and muscles and arthroscopy.

After completing graduate orthopaedic surgery residency education a doctor must meet the following criteria to become Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery:

  • Have a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, government service or Canada.
  • Pass the Part I examination which is a written examination about the material taught during the residency training.
  • Have completed 22 months of practice of operative orthopaedic surgery after successfully completing graduate education.
  • Have demonstrated professional proficiency and ethical practice based on recommendations from physicians familiar with his/her practice.
  • Pass the Part II examination which is an oral examination based on a 6 month list of operative cases

What Does it Mean to be Board Certified by the ABOS?

Maintenance of Certification

Since 1986 the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery has issued time limited certificates. Those orthopaedic surgeons who are certified in 1986 and thereafter must maintain their certification by completing 120 hours of pertinent continuing medical education, undergoing a stringent peer review process to make certain they are respected by their peers and practicing ethical orthopaedic surgery, taking and passing a written or oral examination. This maintenance of certification process must be performed every seven to ten years.

Subspecialty Certification

The ABOS also awards Certificates of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand. Subspecialization in hand surgery requires at least one year of education, endorsement by the program director, peer review, documented experience in a minimum number of hand surgery cases of specified types of problems and written examination on hand surgery. These Certifications of added Qualifications are also valid for ten years and also require a recertification process at the end of the ten years.

American Board of Medical Specialties

The American Board of Medical Specialties (AMBS) assists the member Board in promoting quality and efficiency in the process of evaluating and certifying physician specialists. The AMBS provides information to the public, government and the profession. The AMBS is dedicated to assisting in promoting the health of the public through activities relating to the education of the physician and the evaluation and recognition of physician qualifications for practice.