Frequently Asked Question


How does time-limited certification work?

For candidates who passed the certifying examination in 1990 or thereafter, The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery issues time-limited certificates. Certification is valid for five years from the date of certification, after which diplomates are required to participate in Continuing Certification in order to maintain certification status.

Can certificates be revoked?

Applying for examination, participating in examination, and accepting an ABCRS certificate are voluntary acts. Therefore, the Board assumes no responsibility for any effects certification or failure to obtain certification may have on private and professional activities of candidates.

When an application is submitted, candidates are required to sign an agreement, a portion of which reads: “I agree to disqualification from examination or from the issuance of a certificate, and I agree to the forfeiture and redelivery of such certificate in the event that any of the statements herein made by me at this time or at any time in the past or future in regard to my application for a certificate is false, or in the event that any of the rules and regulations of the Board governing such examinations and certificate is violated by me.”

Certificates which have been issued are subject to the provisions of the General Information Book of The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Inc. and may be revoked for violation of any of these provisions.

Any certificate issued by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ABCRS) may be subject to sanction such as revocation or suspension at any time that the directors shall determine, in their sole judgment, that the diplomate holding the certificate was in some respect not properly qualified to receive it or is no longer properly qualified to retain it. At its discretion, the Board may revoke or suspend a Diplomates certificate for cause, including, but not limited to:

  • The diplomate did not possess the required qualifications and requirements for examination, whether or not such deficiency was known to the Board or any committee thereof prior to examination or at the time of issuance of the certificate, as the case may be.
  • The diplomate made an intentional and material misrepresentation or withheld material information in the application to either part of the examination or in any other representation to the Board or any Committee thereof.
  • The diplomate made a misrepresentation to the board or any third party as to his or her status as a diplomate of the Board.
  • The diplomate engaged in irregular behavior in connection with an examination of the board (as described under Irregular Behavior), whether or not such behavior had an effect on the performance of the candidate on an examination.
  • The diplomate was convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and, in the opinion of the Board, having a material relationship to the practice of medicine.
  • There has been a limitation, suspension, termination or voluntary surrender, in lieu of disciplinary action, of any license or of any right associated with the practice of medicine, including the imposition of any requirement of surveillance, supervision, or review due to a violation of a medical practice act or other statute or governmental regulation, disciplinary action by any medical licensing authority, entry into a consent order, or voluntary surrender of license.
  • A diplomate has failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the Board’s Continuing Certification.

Do you offer reexamination?

A candidate who has failed either the written or oral portion of the examination may be re-examined after one year lapses.
A candidate who fails to pass either the written or oral portion of the examination may repeat that part of the examination twice, thus offering the candidate three opportunities to pass each part of the examination.
A candidate who fails to pass either the written or oral portion of the examination three times may not repeat the examination without satisfactory completion of an approved remedial colon and rectal residency program and submission of a new examination application.

When am I admissible to apply?
A candidate must apply to the Board’s certification process within three years after the completion of approved colon and rectal training.

What is your re-entry policy?
Candidates who apply late after the prescribed three-year period must observe the Board’s special re-entry policy. Requirements include:

  • Submission of updated background and training information
  • Current list of operative procedures with Minimum Colorectal Case Numbers are as follows: Surgical Management: Anorectal Procedures – 12; Colorectal Abdominal Procedures – 24; Endoscopy – 37; Disease Management: Anorectal – 20, Colorectal Abdominal – 20
  • Documentation of 100 Category I CME credit hours (two years prior to the application date)
  • $350 processing fee (in addition to the regular application fees).

Late candidates will undergo a Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) search to ensure there are no restrictions pending against their license. Verification from the Chief of Surgery at their institution/hospital will also be requested attesting to the ethical/moral standing of the applicant. Pending approval of these requirements, the applicant may submit the standard Application for Examination (along with the required fees) to the Board. Complete details may be obtained by writing the Board office.

For all certification applicants, late entry application materials and the $750 application fee ($400 regular & $350 special processing fee) must be received by August 15th prior to the examination date.
The entire Board certification process must be successfully completed within seven years following approval of the formal application. In addition, a candidate whose application for examination has been approved, but who does not take the examination within three years, must submit a new application.
In exceptional or unusual circumstances the Board (through its Standards and Credentials Committee) may, at its discretion, waive one or more of these limitations.

Regaining Admissibility

To know more, please read the document attached below.

Reconsideration & Appeals policy

To know more, please read the document attached below.

How do I order "Your Surgeon is Certified by The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery" brochures?

You can order a certificate brochure by printing out the below form and entering your order details. Please be sure to enclose a check with your order.

What surgical privileges does ABCRS recommend for diplomates?

ABCRS recognizes that the delineation of clinical privileges is an institutional responsibility, vested in the medical staff and the governing body of the health care organization and is distinctly separate from the process of medical specialty certification, a responsibility of specialty boards. The lines of delineation of hospital clinical privileges and of board certification are not necessarily identical.

In order to assist hospitals and their professional staff committees, please see below for ABCRS’s guidelines on hospital privileges. This includes material useful for the development of a credentialing process and for understanding the surgical privileges to be granted to ABCRS diplomates.

Ethics and Professionalism Policy

Unethical and unprofessional behavior is denoted by any dishonest behavior, including: cheating; lying; falsifying information; misrepresenting one’s educational background, certification status and/or professional experience; and failure to report misconduct. The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy toward these behaviors, and individuals caught exhibiting such behaviors risk being permanently barred from certification, reported to state medical boards, and/or legally prosecuted for copyright or other violations.

Unethical behavior is specifically defined by the ABCRS to include the disclosure, publication, reproduction or transmission of ABCRS examinations, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronic or mechanical, for any purposes. This also extends to sharing examination information or discussing an examination while still in progress. Unethical behavior also includes the possession, reproduction or disclosure of materials or information, including examination questions or answers or specific information regarding the content of the examination, before, during or after the examination. This definition specifically includes the recall and reconstruction of examination questions by any means and such efforts may violate federal copyright law. All ABCRS examinations are copyrighted and protected by law; the ABCRS will prosecute violations to the full extent provided by law and seek monetary damages for any loss of examination materials.

Continuing Certification

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Continuing Certification or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is a process adopted by all 24 ABMS boards that assesses six core physician competencies approved by the ABMS and the ACGME throughout a physician’s career. The six competencies that have been identified as important to deliver quality care are communication skills, professionalism, medical knowledge, patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, which includes the ability to measure, and improve quality of care and system-based practice. All physicians certified after 1990 are required to participate in Continuing Certification.

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Prior to 1990, certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery was granted for life. These certified colon and rectal surgeons are not required to recertify or to meet the requirements of Maintenance of Continuing Certification in this area but are strongly encouraged to do so.