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The ABLS™ was founded to promote the safe and efficacious
use of lasers and light in medicine and surgery by establishing
standards of acceptable levels of knowledge and competence
through certifying examinations for medical professionals.


Dear Laser Practitioners:

Many laser surgery practitioners have entered the fields of cosmetic surgery and/or dermatology from other specialties, in order to serve a rapidly growing market and/or to avoid the bureaucracy and/or shrinking reimbursements of third-party payers and HMOs. The appeal of dealing directly with patients for payment, along with the expectation of a steady stream of referrals from satisfied patients, is indeed a powerful incentive to make the change.

For many physicians who are well-qualified and experienced in the use of lasers, the transition has been happy and successful. But for others, it has led to unforeseen results and sometimes costly lawsuits. Lasers, as a class of surgical instruments, may seem deceptively simple to surgeons skilled in the use of sharp instruments and electrosurgical devices for facelifts, endoscopic brow lifts, chemical peels, dermabrasion for skin resurfacing, and other traditional non-laser techniques.

The reality is that lasers are not just expensive scalpels or bovies. They are dangerous, sophisticated devices that can cut, ablate, coagulate, and weld living tissue by one or more complex biophysical processes. They can also cause severe burns, scars, and other injuries, as some newcomers to cosmetic surgery have unfortunately learned to their chagrin (and sometimes in courts of law).


If you are interested in becoming a Diplomate of The American Board of Laser Surgery, please email us at, or go to the Contact, Application & Payment page on this site and click the link to download the Application Form that you can fill in and then email back to us. Complete instructions are provided. This makes the application process very easy and efficient for busy practitioners.

Thank you for your consideration!


Today, laser surgery is not taught in most medical schools, or in residency programs in most of the recognized medical specialties. It is learned primarily in postgraduate education, much of which is offered by laser manufacturers themselves. There are unfortunately many scalpel-skilled physicians who are not fully qualified to use lasers in surgery, despite that these are dangerous machines that require specialized knowledge of laser physics and training in order to be used safely.

ABLS Sample CertificateThe American Board of Laser Surgery has been keenly aware of this as in the past several years many of our applicants for certification have come from the fields of cosmetic laser surgery and dermatology. Those who have passed our rigorous examinations and become Diplomates of the Board have found that the Certificate of the ABLS is a valuable credential for them in attracting patients. Our certification process also provides a solid foundation in fundamental laser science, light-tissue interaction and laser safety that is beneficial to any practitioner who uses, or plans to use, lasers in medical practice.

The Board has certified over 500 Diplomates worldwide, including Canada, Europe, South America, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia among others, as well as the United States. Our Diplomates have found preparing for and taking the Board's examinations to be a valuable learning experience. You may read a few testimonials from physicians who have successfully completed the certification process.

The Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia, based in Australia, adopted the examinations of the Board as their own in the year 2000.

There are three steps to earning the Board's Certification: (1) submitting an Application Form; (2) receiving and assimilating the study materials for the Written Examinations, which can be taken at any time online within one year of receipt of the study materials on an open-book basis; and finally (3) sitting for the Oral Specialty Examination, which is designed to evaluate the candidate's clinical experience. The Oral Examination is most often administered by web conference by one or more of the Board's senior Diplomates who are in the same overall specialty as the candidate (an in-person examination may be requested).

The Study Materials were developed and selected by members of the Board for the purpose of specifically advancing knowledge. The Study Materials and the Written Examinations are truly unique, and the ABLS is currently the only medical specialty board worldwide that offers certification in laser medicine. Please see a sample of the Study Materials.

The minimum passing score for the Written Examinations is 80%. About 10-15% of candidates do not pass the written examinations on the first attempt, even with an open-book policy, which attests to the examinations' rigor. Only a small percentage earn a score of 95% or higher, indicating that there is an opportunity for nearly every candidate to expand his or her knowledge. Any candidate who does not pass an examination on the first attempt, may re-take that examination without prejudice for an additional fee.



Contact ABLS


Edward M. Zimmerman, MD, President
American Board of Laser Surgery, Inc.
Administrative Office
55 Corporate Drive, 3rd Floor
Trumbull, CT 06611
Phone: 203-332-2507

Click here to view our Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and Use of Name & Logo (PDF).

If you need to contact us by telephone, you may leave a message at our Administrative Office number and we will contact you — please leave your phone number and email address; if you need to speak to a Board Officer as soon as possible, please call Dr. Ed Zimmerman at 702-360-6686 at his Las Vegas office.


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