Topics and References
The General Surgery Continuous Certification Assessment focuses on the latest and most important developments in practice to assist diplomates in staying up to date. In addition to the Core module that all diplomates must complete, general surgery diplomates are able to select their second module from four practice-related areas. These four areas were determined based on review of diplomates' operative logs submitted over the past few years. More areas will be added in the future based on feedback from diplomates and surgical societies.
Practice characteristics, patient population, and educational interests may make some modules more relevant to certain diplomates than others. Please click on the module names below to see the topic areas that will be addressed in the assessment.
Selecting a module does not lock you into a track. Diplomates are free to select a different practice area for the next assessment they take.
Please click on the module titles below to expand the topic lists and access the reference PDF files for the 2018 General Surgery Continuous Certification Assessment.
- Perioperative Management of the Patient on Corticosteroids
- Perioperative Management of the Therapeutically Anticoagulated Patient
- Preoperative Assessment and Management of Cardiac Risk
- Preoperative Assessment and Management of Pulmonary Risk
- Postoperative Delirium
- Opioid Prescribing
- Septic Shock
- Effect of Surgery, Illness, and Injury on Nutritional Requirements
- Ethical Issues in Clinical Surgery: End-of-Life Issues
- Hypocalcemia and Hypercalcemia
- Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
- Prevention of Surgical Site Infection
- Prophylaxis for Venous Thromboembolism
- Palliative and Hospice Care
- Wound Closure
- Mass Casualty Incident
- Care of the Pregnant Patient
- Central Venous Catheter Placement
Key Core Surgery Module References (pdf)
All Core Surgery Module References (pdf)
- Access for Dialysis
- Common Bile Duct Obstruction
- Gallbladder Cancer
- Hepatic Abscess
- Hepatic Neoplasms
- Hernias, including Inguinal and Femoral
- Pancreatic Cysts and Pseudocysts
- Pancreatitis - Acute, Chronic, and Necrotizing
- Peritoneal Neoplasms
- Small Intestinal Obstruction
- Spleen, Hemolytic Anemias
- Surgical Implications of Ascites
Key Abdomen Module References (pdf)
All Abdomen Module References (pdf)
- Anal Fissure
- Anorectal Abscess and Fistulae
- Bariatric Surgery
- Clostridium Difficile Colitis
- Enterocutaneous Fistula
- Esophageal Neoplasms
- Gastroesophageal Reflux; Barrett's Esophagus
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST)
- Paraesophageal Hernia
- Short Bowel Syndrome
- Surgical Site Infection
Key Alimentary Tract Module References (pdf)
All Alimentary Tract Module References (pdf)
- Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia
- Axillary Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and Lymphadenectomy
- Benign Breast Disease, including Fibroadenoma and Intraductal Papilloma
- Breast Biopsy
- Breast Cancer, Hereditary
- Breast Cancer, Inflammatory
- Breast Cancer, Invasive Carcinoma (Ductal, Lobular, All Variants)
- Breast Cancer, Non-invasive Carcinoma
- Breast Cancer Surveillance
- Breast Mass Evaluation
- Genetic/Genomic Testing
- Mammographic Abnormalities
- Pleural Effusion/Empyema
Key Breast Surgery Module References (pdf)
All Breast Surgery Module References (pdf)
- Adrenal Mass
- Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia of the Breast
- Bile Duct Injury
- Breast Cancer, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
- Breast Cancer, Hereditary
- Colon and Rectal Injury
- Duodenal Trauma
- Electrical Burns
- Enteral Feeding Tube Placement
- Hemothorax and Pneumothorax
- Hepatic Abscess
- Melanoma and Nevi
- Multi-Trauma Priorities
- Pancreatic Cyst
- Rib and Sternal Fractures
- Thyroid Cancer
Key Comprehensive General Surgery Module References (pdf)
All Comprehensive General Surgery Module References (pdf)
Preparing for the Assessment
While taking the assessment, question rationales and reference citations are displayed every time an answer is submitted. Completing the assessment and reading the rationales is an educational experience which may not require any preparation.
You will have up to two weeks to complete the assessment once you begin, with the opportunity to save your progress and continue at a later time during this two-week period.
Please note: Your personal two-week time limit will start the moment you click the “Begin” button on the ABS portal – do not click it until you are absolutely sure that you are ready to begin your assessment.
2018 Module References
The ABS has listed topics to allow you to choose which module fits your needs and interests. References are provided for transparency about the sources that support the development of the assessment. The references reflect that the assessment primarily focuses on important evidence-based recent updates to surgical practice. Diplomates are neither required nor expected to read all of these references before or during the completion of the assessment.
The ABS has provided two different versions of the reference lists. One version highlights a single key reference for each question and the other lists all references used, including those which explain why the wrong answers are incorrect. References that are available open-source are indicated. Diplomates may choose to refer to these lists either before or during the assessment.
- Core Surgery Module References - Key | All
- Abdomen Module References - Key | All
- Alimentary Tract Module References - Key | All
- Breast Surgery Module References - Key | All
- Comprehensive General Surgery Module References - Key | All
Navigating the Assessment and Testing Strategies
For a visual guide on navigating the assessment, please view this PDF.
Please keep the following in mind during the assessment:
- The 40 questions addressing either Core Surgery or the selected modular area will be presented in a random order. The patient scenarios in Core Surgery may not reflect the practice-related area that was selected, but the underlying topics addressed in those questions relate to core surgical concepts.
- One question is displayed at a time, which must be answered to proceed. It is not possible to navigate backwards to previously answered questions.
- Due to the forward-only navigation, it is recommended that the rationale be read in full before moving on to the next question.
- Every time an answer is submitted for scoring, progress is saved. If the assessment is continued on a different computer or technical difficulties are experienced, previous work will not be lost.
- Participants should track the number of correct and incorrect answers themselves. Participants must get at least 16 questions correct on the first attempt in order to be given access to the questions for a second attempt. If a participant is not on track to get 16 correct, it would be worthwhile to change the approach proactively.
- Correctly answering 80% (32 questions) is required to pass, with two chances to answer. A score of at least 40% (16 questions) must be achieved on the first attempt to qualify for a second attempt in the same testing administration. Participants are encouraged to do their best on all assessment attempts.
- If presented with a difficult question, reviewing the references provided for that topic on the ABS website can facilitate a focused literature review. It may not be not necessary to use the specific references cited in order to determine the correct answer.