Google+ Badge

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What is Board Certification in Podiatric / Foot and Ankle Surgery

I get asked this by my patients all the time for the information out there is very confusing even to other doctors who are not in our field.    A Podiatrist, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) goes to college for 4 years, then attend Podiatric Medical School for another 4 hours.   The first 2 years are spent in the health basic sciences to help students hone up the science skills to become doctors, mostly a repeat of courses learned in college with a slant towards patient care.  These two years are usually spent with other student physicians such as D.O. , M.D. for the basics.   The next two years are spent doing clinical rotations with emphasis on foot and ankle medicine / surgery as well as other allopathic / osteopathic services that a Podiatrist will often interact with or share common privileges with.  These fields are Vascular, Plastic, General Surgery as well as Family/Internal Medicine, and Emergency , Trauma, Orthopedics, Anesthesia services.     Podiatric students skip psychiatry, OB, Optho, etc.  

After graduating with a D.P.M. degree the allopathic foot and ankle doctor then goes onto a residency training of at least 3 years now.     The first year is an internship usually and the last 2 years doing mainly surgery in the field of foot and ankle medicine / surgery via different services in hospitals.  There is an option to do a year or two or even more of a fellowship after residency for Podiatric Physician.   This is not mandatory and offers extra practice outside of residency.   Doctors at this stage typically learn how to practice in a real world setting.   With all this said, what really counts in choosing a foot / ankle physician?
Is a fellowship trained podiatric physician / surgeon better trained?   NO

Two words: Board Certification.   Fellowships are wonderful in that it allows the doctor to have additional apprenticeship under a Board Certified Physician and to practice the craft without having to worry about running a practice  or working independently yet.  

To be board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, the candidate needs to be in practice (not fellowship) for at least 4 years and compile over 1000 cases with a variety of situations, these cases are then scrutinized by a panel of Board Certified, nationally well respected surgeons in the field for quality and outcome.  Once that has been established then the candidate goes on to an oral examination whereby the candidates are given clinical scenarios, usually of complex cases which tests their clinical knowledge and judgement.   The American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS) has two separate tracts.
1) Foot Surgery
2) Reconstructive RearFoot and Ankle Surgery

For those candidates who have both certifications, they would have pass two separate case review paths and then two separate oral examinations.    

Statistics by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery to date shows those with both Certifications in the United States is noted at 851 with 844 being active and practicing.     Those with Foot Certification @ 4,402.

What is the American Board of Podiatric Medicine and Orthopedics mean?    That is a board for none surgical podiatrist who are great at dealing with general medical issues and none surgical management of foot / ankle disorders.  Some specialize in orthotic therapy, dermatology, casting methods for foot/ ankle deformities and general medical management with prescriptions or minor procedures.  Most hospitals will require the podiatrist be board certified / qualified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery as a gold standard to grant surgical privileges and procedures.

In conclusion, fellowships are great experiences for the Podiatric Physician / Surgeon, but the great equalizer is board certification, just as SAT equalizes the students across all schools.


Double Board Certified Podiatric Surgeon

  • American Board Of Podiatric Surgery
    • Foot Surgery
    • Reconstructive RearFoot & Ankle Surgery
  • American Board of Lower Extremity Surgeons
    • Foot Surgery
    • Reconstructive RearFoot & Ankle Surgery





No comments:

Post a Comment