Board certification indicates that a particular doctor has completed education and experience requirements, and meets ethical standards.
There are 24 specialty boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA). See:www.abms.org/Who_We_Help/Consumers/specialties.aspx . For a brief description of the surgical specialties, see the Guide To Surgical Specialties at www.facs.org/public_info/yourhealth/guide.html .
In order to obtain board certification:
- A doctor must have graduated medical school and received a MD (Medical Doctorate) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). The doctor then completes three to eight years of additional training in an accredited residency program.
- The doctor must then pass an examination given by a specialty board. .
All of the speciality boards issue a time-limited certificate, which are valid for six to 10 years. In order to remain certified, doctors must become recertified and must show continuing education in the specialty.
You can find a board certified doctor, or check on specialty certification of specific physicians through the ABMS Web site www.abms.org , or call: 866.275.2267.
A surgeon with FACS after his or her name is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Fellows are almost always board-certified surgeons who have appropriate surgical training and have passed a test of their skills. They've also shown a commitment to a high standard of ethical conduct. To learn about the requirements to be a Fellow, see: www.facs.org/memberservices/2bfacs.html .
How to learn if a doctor is board certified or a Fellow Of the American College of Surgeons: You can ask the doctor or his/her staff. In most cases, a surgeon who is board certified and/or a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons will have certificates verifying these credentials on display in their office.