Being a surgeon is a very tough job, and regarded as one of the most physically and psychologically demanding professions on the planet. However, it comes with many rewards, both professionally and financially, as surgeons are one of the most well-paid professionals in America.
Surgery involves cutting tissues or closing open wounds. The objective of a surgery is to treat diseases or injuries, diagnose, restore body functions or improve personal appearance. In addition to performing surgery, a surgeon needs to coordinate a multi-disciplinary team of surgical nurses, surgical technologists and anesthesiologists to make sure that the patient is properly treated.
Surgeons come with many specialties. The descriptions of several surgical specialties are provided below.
Cardiothoracic surgeons perform surgeries to treat diseases of organs located in the chest.
Cardiac surgeons specialize in the heart and great vessels.
Thoracic surgeons perform surgeries on the chest excluding the heart.
Colorectal surgeons perform surgical treatments on the colon, the anus and the rectum.
ENT surgeons perform surgical treatments of diseases of the ear, nose and throat.
Neurosurgeons specialize in diseases related to the skull, brain and spinal cord.
Ophthalmologists perform surgeries of the eye.
Plastic surgeons focus on surgery of the soft tissues and skin.
Surgeons who practice general surgery specialize in diseases of abdominal organs, such as the esophagus, stomach, gallbladder. bile ducts, liver and hernias.
Orthopedic surgeons deal mostly with issues of the musculoskeletal system; for instance, sport injuries and broken bones.
General surgeons with one to two years of experience earn on average $230,000 per year. Those who practice more than three years earn $300,000 a year. The annual salary of top general surgeons is $500,000-$550,000.
The average annual salary of ophthalmologists is $340,000.
Cardiac surgeons earn on average $510,000 a year. Plastic surgeons earn on average about $420,000 a year. Neurological surgeons have the top salary, with an average of about $550,000 a year, with the top neurological surgeons may earn up to $1 million a year.
Forty one percent of orthopedic surgeons make less than $225,000 and 21 percent earn more than $400,000.
Depending on the institutions, surgeons may receive bonuses, which can range from $50,000 to several hundred thousand dollars a year.
The salary of a surgeon depends strongly on industry demand and his training and experience. In 2007, the median salary for a surgeon in America was about $290,000. However, location is another important factor that determines the salary. According to the Annual General Surgeon Compensation and Employment Survey, surgeons in metropolitan area tends to earn six to seven percent more than surgeons in suburban and rural areas.
There will be a strong demand for surgeons in the next five to ten years, particularly in rural and suburban areas. Furthermore, salaries of surgeons will continue to increase. In 2005 and 2006, most surgical specialties saw an increase of six to ten percent. For instance, the average salary of cardiac surgeons rise by almost 12 percent.