Surgical Assistant Certification Examination

The ABSA Certification Examination for Surgical Assistants is comprised of 150 multiple-choice questions, covering all surgical disciplines and all areas of perioperative medicine, including instrumentation. The examination evaluates candidate knowledge of surgical anatomy, procedures, techniques, diagnostic studies, emergency situations, OSHA regulations, and general patient safety.

The candidate shall possess an understanding of various and diverse aspects of perioperative medicine. The candidate shall possess an ability to identify problems and persevere in solving them. The candidate shall be able to reason abstractly, quantitatively and qualitatively.

The ABSA Surgical Assistant Certification Examination is weighted in approximately the following breakdown:

  • General Surgery Procedures – 18%
  • Orthopaedic Procedures – 12%
  • Gynecological Procedures – 12%
  • Varied other Surgical Specialties – 7%
  • General Operative Knowledge – 14%
  • Anatomy & Medical Terminology – 23%
  • Instrumentation – 7%
  • CPR – 6%

To successfully pass the examination, the candidate must score a minimum of 70%

The questions are derived, generally, from the following outline:

  • General Surgery
    • Surgical Anatomy
      • Abdomen
      • Abdominal Walls
      • Esophagogastrointestinal Tract
      • Gallbladder
      • Liver
      • Spleen
      • Surgical Considerations
      • Blood Supply the Gut
      • Great Vessels
      • Pelvis
      • Muscles
      • Vascular Structures
      • Ureters
      • Thorax
      • Breasts
      • Ribs & Muscles
      • Lungs
      • Mediastinum
      • Sympathetic Chain
    • Surgical Procedures
      • Cholecystectomy
      • Gastrectomy
      • Appendectomy
      • Hernia Repairs
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • Gynecological Surgery
    • Surgical Anatomy
      • Uterus & Adnexa
      • Placenta
      • Vagina
    • Surgical Procedures
      • Abdominal Hysterectomy
      • Caesarean Section
      • Anterior & Posterior Repairs of Vagina
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • Urological Surgery
    • Surgical Anatomy
      • Kidneys & Ureters
      • Bladder
      • Prostate
      • External Genitalia (male & female)
    • Surgical Procedures
      • Bladder Catherization
      • Bladder Suspensions
      • Nephrectomy
      • Renal Transplantation
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • Cardio-thoracic Surgery
    • Surgical Anatomy
      • Sternum
      • Diaphragm
      • Heart
      • Coronary Arteries
      • Valves
      • Congenital Defects
    • Cardiac Equipment (general knowledge of function)
      • Heart-Lung Machine & Cardiac Cannulation
      • Cell Saver
      • Intra-aortic Balloon Pump
      • Defibrillator
      • External Pacemaker
    • Surgical Procedures
      • Mitral & Aortic Valve Replacement
      • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
    • Surgical Anatomy
      • Superior Extremities
        • Shoulder
        • Elbow
        • Forearm
        • Wrist
        • Hand
      • Inferior Extremities
        • Hip
        • Knee
        • Ankle
        • Fractures
      • Long Bone
        • Hip
        • Wrist
    • Surgical Procedures
      • Total Hip Replacement
      • Total Knee Replacement
      • ACL Reconstruction
      • Cast Applications
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • Neurological Surgery
    • Surgical Anatomy
      • Head
      • Skull
      • Brain
      • Cranial Nerves
      • Vertebral Column
      • Cervical Spine
      • Thoracic Spine
      • Lumbar Spine
      • Sacrum & Coccyx
      • Spinal Cord
      • Nerve Roots
      • Dermatomes
    • Surgical Procedures
      • Anterior Cervical Discectomy
      • Lumbar Laminectomy
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • Robotic Assisted Surgery
    • Procedures
    • Setup & Draping
    • Positioning
    • Instrumentation
    • Complications
    • Troubleshooting
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • EKG Interpretation
    • Normal Sinus Rhythm
    • Atrial Arrhythmias
      • Sinus Bradycardia
      • Sinus Tachycardia
      • Sinus Arrhythmia
      • Atrial Fibrillation
    • Ventricular Arrhythmias
      • Ventricular Tachycardia
      • Premature Ventricular Contractions
      • Ventricular Fibrillation
  • Laboratory Data
    • Normal Values
      • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
      • Serum Electrolytes
      • Arterial Blood Gas
      • Urinalysis
    • Critical Values
      • Serum Potassium
      • Oxygen Saturation
  • Radiological Interpretations
    • X-ray
      • Hip
      • Wrist
      • Intra-operative Cholangiograms
    • MRI
      • Brain
      • Cervical Spine
      • Lumbar Spine
      • Shoulder
      • Hip
      • Knee
    • Surgical & Procedural Terminology
  • Microbiology
    • Asepsis & Infection Control
      • Hepatitis
      • HIV / AIDS
      • Wound Healing
    • Sterilization Techniques
      • High-Speed Steam Sterilization
      • Cold Sterilization (Liquid)
  • General Operating Room Knowledge
    • Patient Safety
      • Moving & Positioning
      • Restraint
      • Transportation
      • Psychological
    • General Operating Room Equipment
      • Electrocautery Devices
      • Suctions
      • Warming Blankets
    • OSHA Regulations, HIPAA Regulations & Personal Safety
      • Government Regulations regarding Patient Information & Privacy Issues
      • Operative Consent
      • Personal Protection
      • Glasses
      • Gowns, Gloves & Masks
      • Handling of Biologicals
      • Fire & Safety in the Operating Room Environment

Key Benefits

  • This section of multiple-choice type questions allows the ABSA to evaluate a candidate’s general knowledge in all surgical disciplines.
  • This section requires a candidate to possess more than just a superficial knowledge of surgical medicine.
  • This section permits a candidate to have validation of their knowledge of surgical medicine by means of a structured examination process.