MDS Subspecialty Certification Exam Study Guide and FAQs

As announced last October, the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) received approval from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to create a subspecialty certification in Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery (MDS). The MDS subspecialty certification is in line with ABD’s stated goal of ensuring dermatology patients receive the highest quality care.
Candidates for the MDS subspecialty certification must:
     1. Possess a current, valid, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine or
          osteopathy in at least one state or province within the United States or Canada;
     2. Hold primary certification in general dermatology from ABD;
     3. Be up to date in Maintenance of Certification (MOC) if certification
          by ABD is time-limited;
     4. Demonstrate experience in the subspecialty by:
          successfully completing the ACGME-accredited MSDO fellowship
         attesting to active practice of micrographic surgery as part of
           one’s patient care activities*
      * during an initial five-year practice pathway eligibility period only. 
     5. Pass the MDS certification examination.
The ABD plans to administer the first MDS Subspecialty Certification Examination on October 4, 2021 at Pearson VUE test centers nationwide.
To help diplomates prepare for the MDS Exam, we assembled a Study Guide. The exam content outlined in the Study Guide provides an overview of the knowledge and skills obtained through fellowship training in micrographic dermatologic surgery. While an effort has been made to cover the content that may be on the exam, there is no guarantee that every subject on the exam will have been included in the study guide. This study guide may be periodically updated and new versions will be published on accordingly.
In response to common inquiries about this new subspecialty certification, we created a set of Frequently Asked Questions. These address the matters of exam administration, exam eligibility, exam development and the continuing certification (MOC) process for this new certificate. To further enhance your understanding of MDS subspecialty certification, we also devised this visual overview of the eligibility requirements, the certification pathways and the implementation timeline. 

The ABD staff is happy to address additional questions or concerns you have about MDS. Do not hesitate to contact us by email ( or phone (617-910-6400 x 0).
We will keep you informed as more information is available about the 2021 MDS Examination.

MDS Subspecialty Certification Exam Study Guide and FAQs

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