Background

In February 2006 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education approved the Primary Certificate in Vascular Surgery. SVS initiated the process in March 2004, and the American Board of Surgery (ABS) submitted an application to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the Surgery RCC approved the Primary Certificate in Vascular Surgery.
The primary certificate eliminates the requirement for certification in general surgery prior to certification in vascular surgery, and allows the creation of more flexible and in-depth training paradigms.
As of July 1, 2008, the RRC-S will no longer accredit one-year vascular surgery training programs. Correspondingly, the ABS will not approve applications for certification from individuals who complete a one-year program after this date. ABS certification in vascular surgery will, thereafter, require a minimum of two years of accredited vascular training.
I have heard there are changes to the training options to become a vascular surgeon. What is different?

To become a vascular surgeon, you now have the option of more than one training pathway. The options include:
  1. Seven-year track—5 years of general surgery and general residency plus 2 years of vascular surgery with eventual board certification in both surgery and vascular surgery.
  2. Six-year track (“3 + 3”)—vascular surgery certification only, for residents who match in initial surgical training. This is analogous to the plastic surgery training model.
  3. Five-year track—vascular surgery integrated track for trainees who match during medical school.
Graduates of general surgery programs in academic years prior to July 1, 2006, will still require certification in general surgery before they can be certified in vascular surgery. Only vascular surgery trainees who complete general surgery training in academic years after this date (June 2007 or later) will be able to pursue vascular surgery certification independently of general surgery certification.
What does this change mean to me as a medical student or junior resident?

A primary certificate will provide more training options:
  • Expanded training in vascular surgery-specific areas. The primary certificate will make more time available for training in areas such as non-operative prevention, diagnosis and management of vascular disease.
  • Shorter training periods. By reducing the time spent in general surgery rotations, the primary certificate will result in a shortened vascular surgery training period for junior residents or medical students who choose vascular surgery early on.
  • More opportunities to choose vascular surgery. The primary certificate will bring more freedom of career choice to medical students and residents, who will be able to make the vascular surgery choice at various stages of training—during medical school, after several years of initial surgical training, or after completion of full five-year general surgery training.
Who do I call to find out what the training program in a particular college is?

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Contact the Program Director of Vascular Surgery or General Surgery at your medical college. They will be able to tell you how the college plans to implement the new training requirements.

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