Breast Ultrasound Certification

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. May I take the exam before submitting the application?
  2. May I submit the application before sitting for the written examination?
  3. Do I need to submit documentation of 100 breast ultrasound exams done within the last 12 months?
  4. How many clinical case submissions are required?
  5. What is the CME requirement for certification?
  6. Do I need to complete my 15 credit hours of breast ultrasound CME before submitting my application?
  7. Where might I find Category I CME that meets these requirements?
  8. Are there ultrasound credits that can be used from the BESAP program?
  9. How should I prepare for the written examination?
  10. May I submit part of my application on-line and part in hard-copy form?
  11. May I apply for certification if my ultrasound exams include modalities other than core biopsies, cyst aspirations and FNA's like needle locs, brachytherapy devices, etc?
  12. May I use reports generated from my Mastery of Breast Surgery participation as part of my case documentation?
  13. How are my cases reviewed and scored?
  14. What issues should an applicant consider to better ensure a successful review?
  15. Can I submit cases from my breast fellowship?
  16. Can my fellowship training count towards my one year of experience doing breast ultrasound?
  17. How can I get enough breast ultrasound cases to apply for certification? My radiologist does most of the diagnostic ultrasound.
  18. What images are required for diagnostic cases?
  19. What images are required for interventional cases?
  20. What happens if my cases don't pass?
  21. What are the requirements for recertification?
 

1. May I take the exam before submitting the application?

Yes, you may take the exam up to 18 months prior to the submitting your clinical case application.

 

2. May I submit the application before sitting for the written examination?

Yes, you may submit your application up to 18 months prior to taking the exam.

 

3. Do I need to submit documentation of 100 breast ultrasound exams done within the last 12 months?

No, you do not need to submit documentation of the required 100 breast ultrasound exams, however, keep in mind, that you should maintain records for your own reference.   

In the application, you will be required to sign an attestation to the fact that you independently perform no fewer than 100 breast ultrasound exams per year, with review of a minimum of 100 mammography exams annually.

 

4. How many clinical case submissions are required?

Applicants are required to submit 5 diagnostic ultrasound procedures and 5 interventional ultrasound procedures. Please see the Breast Ultrasound Clinical Case Requirement Chart for further details regarding case submission criteria.

 

5. What is the CME requirement for certification?

A minimum of 15 AMA-PRA category 1 CME credits in breast ultrasound is required for certification. Of these, a minimum of 7 AMA-PRA category 1 CME credits in breast ultrasound must be obtained during the 18 months prior to submission of the application. You must document successful completion of no less than 1 full-day course, including a didactic portion on the principles of ultrasound as well as a "hands-on" portion demonstrating ultrasound-guided procedures.

 

6. Do I need to complete my 15 credit hours of breast ultrasound CME before submitting my application?

Yes, you must submit documentation of your required CME credit hours with your completed application.

 

7. Where might I find Category I CME that meets these requirements?

The Society offers pre-meeting breast ultrasound courses at our Annual Meeting and occasionally offers regional courses during the year.  Our Annual Meeting's General Session offers approximately 2 hours of breast ultrasound CME as well.

The American College of Surgeons and several other organizations offer breast ultrasound CME that also meet the requirements.  Some on-line category I CME in breast ultrasound is also acceptable as part of the total 15 credit hours.

 

8. Are there ultrasound credits that can be used from the BESAP program?

Yes, you may count 6 of the AMA PRA category 1 credits earned through BESAP when applying for breast ultrasound or stereotactic certification and recertification.

 

9. How should I prepare for the written examination?

The Ultrasound Written Exam tests for knowledge that should be familiar to surgeons who perform breast ultrasound on a daily basis. About one half of the questions on the written exam come from an introductory ultrasound course, as well as a basic breast ultrasound course. The rest require clinical experience.

 

10. May I submit part of my application on-line and part in hard-copy form?

No, you must submit the clinical application entirely in one format or the other. Incomplete applications in either format will not be reviewed.

Keep in mind that to apply online, you must be able to upload images and documentation in jpg or pdf format.

If you would prefer to submit a hard copy application, you must order that application for $50 and be prepared to print ultrasound images on thermal print paper. (Order forms are available here.) 

 

11. May I apply for certification if my ultrasound exams include modalities other than core biopsies, cyst aspirations and FNA's like needle locs, brachytherapy devices etc.?

Needle localization, insertion of brachytherapy devices, percutaneous excision of lesions and placement of ablative devices are acceptable cases to submit. Currently, they cannot be submitted online. Contact the Society office for information on how to submit these types of cases.

 

12. May I use reports generated from my Mastery of Breast Surgery participation as part of my case documentation?

Yes, the reports generated from the Mastery from the diagnostic and percutaneous procedure modules contain all of the required elements of the ultrasound reports. Examples: Diagnostics sample, Percutaneous sample.

 

13. How are my cases reviewed and scored?

The reviewers are looking for cases that represent your best work and meet all of the requirements spelled out within the application. Please see the sample scorecard for further information.

 

14. What issues should an applicant consider to better ensure a successful review?

Adherence to the application instructions is important for a successful outcome.  Clinical cases should be gathered prospectively in order for the applicant to best meet all criteria.  Please read the entire application prior to choosing your cases.

 

15. Can I submit cases from my breast fellowship?

Cases may be submitted from fellowship training only if the images were personally acquired and independently interpreted by the applicant.  In addition, the applicant must have made the final independent disposition for the patient based on the imaging findings.

 

16. Can my fellowship training count towards my one year of experience doing breast ultrasound?

Yes, provided breast ultrasound training was provided.

 

17. How can I get enough breast ultrasound cases to apply for certification? My radiologist does most of the diagnostic ultrasound.

Surgeons can easily accumulate diagnostic ultrasound experience even if they have not performed the initial ultrasound on the patient.  Diagnostic images obtained at the time of an interventional procedure as well as images obtained by the surgeon to confirm the finding of an outside ultrasound can be counted in the total.  The surgeon is encouraged to document his or her independent interpretation of the findings, impression and recommendation based on his or her own images obtained. The surgeon's diagnostic ultrasound does not need to be the initial ultrasound for the patient nor does the patient need to be billed for the additional study for it to count as one of the 80 annual diagnostic ultrasounds. 

 

18. What images are required for diagnostic cases?

Two orthogonal images of the lesion, either radial/anti-radial or transverse/sagittal (longitudinal) are required.  Each image must have annotation either in text or on icon regarding the side, location (clock position), and transducer orientation.  Distance from the nipple must be in text.  The lesion should be measured in at least 2 dimensions. 

 

19. What images are required for interventional cases?

The images required depend on the type of case submitted. See application instructions.  Each interventional image must have the needle clearly seen in relation to the breast lesion.  Images of clips are not required.

 

20. What happens if my cases do not pass?

The applicant is provided a critique of their cases by the reviewing surgeons.  The applicant is given the opportunity to correct any deficiencies and resubmit additional cases for review.

 

21. What are the requirements for recertification?

Breast Ultrasound Certification is valid for 3 years.  Recertification requires:

  • Submission of 2 cases with both diagnostic and interventional components.
  • Documented performance of no fewer than 100 breast ultrasound exams per year with review of a minimum of 100 mammography exams annually that include the authenticated reports. These must include a minimum of 80 diagnostic and 20 interventional examinations.
  • A minimum of 10 CME credits in breast ultrasound over the last 3 years, at least 5 of which must be AMA PRA category 1, is required for recertification. At least 3 of the total hours must be obtained during the 12 months prior to submission of the application.

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