Current diplomates who have retired from practice are able to request a status of "retired" to be displayed alongside their name on the ABS website. This status is intended for surgeons who are no longer active in practice in any capacity. These individuals may not be treating patients and may not be supervising residents or others in providing patient care. If you are still actively practicing in any way, including an administrative role, this status is not for you. Please see our Clinically Inactive policy for information on the status that applies to diplomates who are still professionally active but no longer seeing patients.

Note: Do not apply for this status if you are still actively maintaining your certification through the ABS Continuous Certification Program, or through any other ABMS member board. If you are approved for the Retired status, you will no longer receive communications from ABS about your certificate(s) or certification status.

The Retired status does not apply to diplomates who no longer operate but still see patients. These diplomates are not considered retired and should submit information about their current clinical activities via the ABS portal.

Requesting Retired Status

If you are a retired surgeon who would like to take advantage of this new status, please complete the Diplomate Request for Retired Status online form. If you meet the necessary criteria, your status with ABS will be, “Retired in Good Standing.” Please note that your status will not say “Certified” unless you are currently participating in the ABS Continuous Certification Program. In the case of most retired surgeons, the full status will be, “Not Certified; Retired in Good Standing.”

What does “good standing” mean? This means that, at the time of retirement, you:

  • Had a valid medical license
  • Had no disciplinary actions against your license or ABS certificate
  • Were compliant with Continuous Certification (CC) at the time of retirement, including payment of any outstanding annual fees (if applicable)

The above list is not exhaustive, and there are other factors that may affect the application of this status.

Reporting of Status

Any inquiry received by the ABS as to the diplomate's certification status will specify that they are considered Retired and that this status is intended only for diplomates who are no longer active in practice in any capacity.

Surgeons who are certified by more than one ABMS member board (e.g., American Board of Surgery and American Board of Thoracic Surgery) should be aware that, upon approval of this status with ABS, you will also be listed as retired with your other board(s). If you need to maintain an active status with your other ABMS board(s), do not apply for this status until you are retired in all areas of practice.

Return to Active Practice

Retired diplomates who decide to change their status and return to active practice should first develop a re-entry plan with their institution for approval by the ABS—see Re-entry to Surgical Practice for further details. The diplomate will be required to submit information regarding their return to clinical activity, including plans for monitoring and evaluation during the re-entry process, and fulfill additional requirements based on the surgeon's particular circumstances.

For additional guidance, please contact the ABS via email.

Updated: December 2020