Surgeon Salary – How Much Do They Earn?

Doctors generally earn a high salary but you may be wondering how much surgeons earn since they are highly educated to specialize in one major form of medical treatment such as surgery or cutting the body to remove or repair a tissue.

A surgeon’s salary depends on what type of surgery he or she is involved with. Some even consider the state or location where they practice. CNN Money, CNN’s business website, ranked the general surgeon profession in the 75th position in the “100 Best Jobs in America”. Sounds exciting? Not probably since being in the 75th spot means the job is way too exhausting.

However, in another CNN Money feature, general surgeons ranked second place in the “20 Highest-Paying Jobs”. According to a surgeon from the John Hopkins Hospital, “Surgery is intensely rewarding. To be able to tell a patient that a family member has a chance at a new life or to rid someone or cure someone of a disability, it's a very rewarding experience.” The median pay for general surgeons amounts to $260,000 while the top pay is at $412,000. “It’s a lot of training, but I think it’s worth it,” the surgeon adds.

So, how much do surgeons, who specialize in a specific surgery field, earn?  Here is a list of the 10 types of surgeons and their salaries.

10 Pediatric Surgeon ($166,000)


Pediatric surgery has two sub-specialties such as neonatal surgery and fetal surgery. Pediatric surgeons practice at children’s hospitalsand perform surgery to fetuses, infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Some diseases that pediatric surgeons deal with are congenital malformations such as cleft lip and palate, abdominal wall defects, chest wall deformities, childhood tumors and separation of conjoined twins.

9 Ophthalmology Surgeon ($116,000 to $202,000)


Ophthalmology surgeons or ophthalmologists specializes in eye surgery. Examples of surgeries performed by an ophthalmologist are laser eye surgery, cataract, glaucoma, canaloplasty, refractive surgery, corneal surgery, vitreo-retinal surgery, eye muscle surgery and oculoplastic surgery among others. There are generally over a hundred types of surgeries that can be performed for the eyes.

8 Gynecological Surgeon ($256,000)


Gynecological surgeons or gynecologists perform surgery on the female reproductive system. Gynecologists can perform the surgery for health or cosmetic purposes. Women who have problems with cancer in the reproduction system, infertility and incontinence go to gynecologists for advice.

7 Oncologist Surgeon ($79,000 to $347,000)


Oncologists deal with performing surgeries for cancer. They can treat or lessen cancer symptoms. The Society of Surgical Oncology has approved 19 oncology fellowship training programs in the United States. There are many types of cancer that require the oncologists to specialize in surgical management of all benign diseases.

6 Bariatric Surgeon ($433,000)


A bariatric surgeon treats people with obesity. In the United States, obesity is a rising medical problem. Bariatric surgery is performed for obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or 40 with or without diabetes.

5 Oral Surgeon ($81,000 to 446,000)


Oral surgeons perform surgery to the head, mouth, teeth, gums, jaw and neck. The type of surgery or treatment performed to patients with injuries or effects involving the parts mentioned are wisdom teeth removal, corrective jaw surgery, oral pathology, dental implants and facial trauma and more. In Europe, oral surgeons are required to take three additional years of training after graduating from the dentistry program. In the United States, oral surgeons are identified as “oral and maxillofacial surgeons”.

4 Plastic Surgeon ($74,000 to $83,000)


Plastic surgeons specialize in a medical procedure to correct or restore form and function. Most people are associated with plastic surgery for cosmetic or aesthetic purposes. However, there are other types of plastic surgery such as reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, burn treatment and microsurgery. Medical history relates that the Indian physician Sushruta, dubbed as “the father of surgery” largely contributed important medical works in the fields of plastic and cataract surgery in 6th century B.C. John Petter Mettauer was the first American plastic surgeon who performed the first cleft palate surgery.

3 Neurosurgeon ($81,000 to $646,000)


A neurosurgeon performs surgeries to the nervous system that includes the spinal cord, peripheral nerves, brain and skull. The basic requirement for becoming a neurosurgeon is to have a bachelor’s degree in pre-med or in biological, chemical or physical science. After graduating with the degree, they need to train for another four to six years in graduate school to obtain a “Doctor of Medicine” (M.D.) degree. In the United States, an additional one year internship and five to seven years of neurosurgery residency is required while in the United Kingdom, doctors are required to complete foundation training for two years before they can apply to enter the neurological pathway, which takes around eight years to finish.

2 Cardiac Surgeon ($81,000 to $546,000)


Cardiac surgeons perform surgery on the heart or great vessels. The Norwegian surgeon, Axel Cappelen, performed the first surgery on the heart. Cardiac surgeons go through an extensive training before they can earn their title and start performing surgeries. In the undergraduate level, there is no specific degree required but it would be best to take pre-med courses before going to graduate school for further training in medicine. After obtaining a master’s degree in medicine, residency training is required. Residency training takes about seven to eight years.

1 Orthopedic Surgeon ($122,000 to $549,000)

Orthopedic surgeons perform surgeries involving the musculoskeletal system. They can use surgical and non-surgical means to treat patients with sports injuries, infections, tumors, congenital disorders and many others that are related or affected the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons can decide to have further training in orthopedic sub-specialty after completing their residency program. In the United States, subspecialty training includes orthopedic trauma, spine surgery, shoulder and elbow surgery, pediatric orthopedics, hand surgery, arthroplasty and more. Meanwhile, the top ten procedures performed by orthopedic surgeons are knee arthroscopy and meniscectomy, shoulder arthroscopy and decompression, carpal tunnel release, knee arthroscopy and chondroplasty, removal of support implant, knee arthroscopy and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, knee replacement, repair of femoral neck fracture, repair of trochanteric fracture and debridement of skin/muscle/bone/fracture.

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