What Are the Highest Paid Surgeons?

Sina Bari

February 6, 2023

Sina Bari MD

Surgeons are doctors who operate on the body, and their salaries vary greatly depending on their speciality. The top surgeons are typically those that have spent years learning their craft and constantly innovating to improve the field. Surgical specialities are one of the most demanding career paths in healthcare. They require extended residency programs.


Neurosurgeons perform surgical procedures that involve the brain and other parts of the nervous system. They also deal with various other issues, including trauma, aneurysms and blocked arteries. To become a neurosurgeon, you must attend medical school and an extensive training program. It would be best if you then underwent several years of residency to gain experience in the field.

Because of their extensive education and delicate work, neurosurgeons can make some of the highest salaries in the medical field. However, their compensation varies from country to country and even within the same countries.

Thoracic Surgeon

A thoracic surgeon operates on organs and structures in the chest, including the heart, lungs, esophagus, trachea and diaphragm. They treat various diseases and conditions that require chest surgery, such as lung cancer, heart disease, chest trauma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and pulmonary fibrosis.

Thoracic surgery is also known as cardiothoracic surgery, and surgeons often work with other specialists, such as pulmonologists and gastroenterologists. Doctors specializing in thoracic surgery earn much more than those practising other surgical specialities. According to the Medical Group Management Association, a thoracic surgeon can earn up to $600,000 annually.

Cardiac Surgeon

Cardiac surgeons are healthcare providers who specialize in repairing structural problems with the heart and lungs. This can include congenital problems present at birth, including holes between the heart’s chambers and problems with valves.

Cardiothoracic surgeons undergo years of education and training to become qualified to perform these complex surgeries. Some specialize in invasive procedures like heart and lung transplants, while others prefer minimally invasive surgery using endoscopic or robotic tools.

Cardiac surgeons can earn a wide range of yearly salaries depending on the location and employer type. Surgeons employed by hospitals generally report an average yearly income of $96,958, whereas professionals working for companies typically earn around $467,189, according to salary statistics provided by Payscale.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons diagnose and treat disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles and nerves. They can also help with spinal injuries and conditions like arthritis and scoliosis.

They perform procedures that improve joint function, such as surgery to replace a hip or knee, which can completely transform a patient’s life. They may also suggest non-surgical treatment to increase the range of motion.

Those interested in becoming orthopedic surgeons must attend medical school and complete residency training. They then usually go on to a fellowship, a yearlong program that allows them to specialize their skills further.

Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgeons specialize in reconstructing or improving the physical appearance of an individual. This is typically done for cosmetic reasons but can also include surgeries that treat congenital disabilities or improve the effects of illness or injury.

Plastic surgeons consistently rank among the highest paid physicians in the United States. Their salaries primarily depend on their level of board certification, years of experience and the region in which they practice.

Some of the most common plastic surgery procedures include tumour removal, laceration repair, craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, scar revision and breast reduction plasty. In addition, plastic surgeons often perform aesthetic procedures, such as tummy tucks and liposuction. This is an important field because it allows them to help people who suffer from severe injuries or illnesses.