Skip Navigation LinksHome > Board Certification > Maintenance of Certification
Maintenance of ABSS Certification Status

How to maintain ABSS Board Certification

Maintenance of Certification

Maintenance of Certification is based on the premise that the knowledge and practice of spine surgery changes over time. By 1972 this general concept and the practice of recertification was adopted by all member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Incorporated in 1997 as an independent organization to address the special needs of the unique surgical specialty that has emerged from neurosurgery and orthopaedics, the American Board of Spine Surgery believes that compliance with the principles of ABMS certification and recertification processes is important to maintaining appropriate standards for the crucial specialty of surgery of the spine. The value of recertification is the demonstration of an ongoing commitment to remaining current in the knowledge and skill necessary to provide exceptional care for spinal pathology.

Requirements for Maintenance of Certification

Diplomates are required to recertify every ten years within the year of expiration that appears on each certificate. Recertification is accomplished through continuing medical education and examination. The recertification process can begin up to one year prior to expiration of certification in order to provide multiple options for taking the exams. Early recertification will not negatively effect the next recertification date.

In order to maintain certification, the following are required:

  1. Credentials and continuing education
    Diplomats must return the following no later than six weeks prior to the February, June or November examination dates in the year that certification expires:
    • Recertification Application Form
    • Copy of license to practice medicine or osteopathy
    • Evidence of Continuing Medical Education Credits
      • Credits must be earned within the three-year period preceding recertification
      • 120 CMEs must be earned within the three-year period
    • References from three of the following:
      • Colleague not directly affiliated with your practice
      • And/or from the hospital where you perform surgery
        - Chief of Surgery
        - Chief or Director of Nursing
        - Chief of Staff
        - Chief of Orthopaedics or Chief of Neurology
        - Chief of Anesthesia
  2. Examination
    Diplomates must pass either a written examination or an oral examination
    • Written Examination – Available at proctored computerized facilities in February, June and November

      OR
    • Oral Examination - Available annually at the North American Spine Society Conference
      The oral examination requires submission of all operative cases for the six consecutive months starting one year prior to the oral examination date

      Diplomates who wish to recertify by taking the oral examination will be sent specific instructions for submission of cases
  3. Payment of $250 fee