This joint statement was approved by the ACS Board of Regents Executive Committee in February 2012.
The Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery™ program (FLS) was developed to ensure that every surgeon practicing laparoscopic surgery has the minimum knowledge, judgment, and technical skills required to perform basic laparoscopic operations. FLS was designed to be independent of specialty area and procedure type. The goal of the curriculum is to provide a strong foundation for practice. Beginning with the 2009–2010 academic year, the American Board of Surgery (ABS) required that all general surgery residents successfully complete the FLS exam to be eligible to take the ABS Qualifying Exam in surgery.
The FLS program was modeled after Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®), with a didactic and hands-on component. One of the unique features of the FLS program is the robust evaluations for both the didactic and psychomotor skills, consistent with the standards for high-stakes examination.
The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) recommend that all surgeons practicing laparoscopic surgery be certified through the FLS program. FLS is the only validated, objective measure of a surgeon’s fundamental knowledge and skills related to laparoscopic surgery. As such, SAGES and the ACS also recommend that institutions credentialing surgeons to perform laparoscopic surgery consider FLS certification a requirement of their credentialing process.