American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Surgery of the Hand

The Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Surgery of the Hand is for Board-Certified orthopaedic surgeons who have demonstrated qualifications in hand surgery beyond those expected of other orthopaedic surgeons by virtue of additional training and a practice characterized by volume and diversity of cases in hand surgery or have made significant contributions to this field.

The examination is developed and administered by the Joint Committee on Surgery of the Hand of the American Boards of Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, and Surgery.

Applicants must have completed a one year ACGME accredited fellowship in surgery of the hand to qualify. In addition, a one year case list must be submitted which meets the required number of cases in 5 of 9 categories.

Applications are available online each September and the examination is given the following August by computer at Pearson Vue Test Centers nationwide. This is a four hour examination consisting of 175 multiple-choice questions designed to evaluate the candidate’s cognitive knowledge relevant to surgery of the hand.

To view a blueprint of the examination, click on this link.

Candidates who have met all the requirements and have passed the examination will receive a Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand issued by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. This Subspecialty Certificate will be valid through the expiration of the Diplomate’s General Certificate. After receiving the Subspecialty Certificate, it is highly recommended that Diplomates take a combined examination when the Certificates expire, so they will be recertifying both Certificates with one examination.

Examination Overview

Examinees are provided with 15 total minutes of break time which can be used between any examination sections. The tutorial can be completed at home prior to the examination resulting in extra break time. Candidates WILL NOT be penalized for any break taken outside of the normal scheduled breaks EXCEPT that unscheduled breaks will reduce the time a Candidate has on his/her examination.


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