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Certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery | ASCRS

The surgeon who has attained Certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ABCRS) must first be certified by the American Board of Surgery (ABS).  Having attained certification in both fields, a colon and rectal certified specialist is proficient in the field of general surgery, but has also acquired particular expertise in diagnosis as well as medical and surgical management (including preoperative and postoperative care) in the following areas:

  • Anorectal conditions
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Fissures
    • Abscesses
    • Fistulas
       
  • Colorectal and anal tumors
    • Colon and rectal cancer screening
    • Cancer Polyps Hereditary tumor syndromes
      • Familial polyposis
      • Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer
         
  • Diverticulitis/Diverticulosis
     
  • Endoscopy of the colon and rectum
    • Rigid and flexible sigmoidoscopy
    • Colonoscopy
    • Endoscopic polypectomy
       
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Ulcerative colitis
    • Crohn's disease
       
  • Physiologic tests (Intestinal and Anorectal) for evaluation
    and management of:
    • Anal incontinence
    • Anal rectal pain
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Rectal prolapse
    • Anal sphincter and pelvic floor
       
  • Laparoscopic colon resection
     
  • Physiologic test (Intestinal and anorectal) for evaluation
    and management of:

     
    • Anal incontinence
    • Anal rectal pain
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Rectal prolapse
    • Anal sphincter and pelvic floor

To be certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, the process for certification includes a chronological series of components with specific requirements in the areas of education, direct patient care and examinations.

Education

  • Must have graduated from an accredited medical school.
  • Must have completed graduate general surgical training in an accredited residency program in the United States or Canada.
  • Must have successfully completed colon and rectal surgical training in an accredited residency program in the United States or Canada.
  • Must have obtained sufficient experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgical management of diseases of the anus, rectum, and colon as deemed adequate by the ABCRS.
  • Must have a detailed colorectal operative experience record and recommendations from training program directors for ABCRS review.

Examinations in General Surgery

  • Must have successfully completed the written Qualifying examination and the oral Certifying examination of the American Board of Surgery (all surgeons applying for certification from the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery must first be certified as general surgeons).

Examinations in Colon and Rectal Surgery

  • Must have successfully completed a written Qualifying examination which assesses knowledge of the diagnosis, treatment, and surgical management of diseases of the anus, rectum and colon. This examination includes testing in radiology and pathology as these disciplines relate to colon and rectal surgery.
     
  • Must have successfully completed the oral Certifying examination where each candidate is interviewed by three teams of prominent colon and rectal surgeons who evaluate the candidate's ability to diagnose and treat common and complex colon and rectal surgical problems and determine if the candidate should be granted certification.

Maintaining Certification

To be certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, the surgeon must have met the specialty's established standards by fulfilling specified educational, credentialing and examination requirements.

Since 1990, the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery has issued certificates that are valid for ten years. Once certified, the colon and rectal surgeon who wishes to maintain certification upon expiration of the original certificate must complete a Maintenance of Certification process. This process is designed to document that physician specialists certified by the ABMS boards are maintaining the skills and knowledge necessary to provide quality patient care in their specialty. The program gives diplomates the opportunity to demonstrate to peers, patients and the general public a commitment to lifelong learning and improvement in their chosen field of practice.

MOC is the new “gold standard” of specialty board certification. It acknowledges that diplomates have already demonstrated a commitment to excellence by becoming certified and builds upon this experience. MOC incorporates six core physician competencies, as defined by the ABMS and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), into an evaluation process by which practicing surgeons can document their ongoing commitment to excellent patient care — the heart of the certification process.

Effective January 1, 2010, all American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ABCRS) diplomates certified in 1990 or later will be enrolled in the MOC process. Current rules state that diplomates with unlimited certification are not required to participate in the MOC process but are encouraged to do so. MOC requirements progress in three-year cycles. At the end of each cycle, diplomates must report their MOC activities to ABCRS.