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Salary of an Attending Surgeon

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The definition of an attending surgeon is a surgeon that has completed medical school and residency and is now practicing as a full, or attending, doctor. Surgeons only make around $50,000 during their residency, but once they become an attending physician, the big bucks start rolling in.

Trauma Surgeon

The median salary for attending trauma surgeons in the United States is $329,142, according to Trauma surgeons must complete a five-year general surgery residency followed by a one-year critical care fellowship. Trauma surgery is the most demanding and intense area of surgery because patients are always on the verge of death. However, it can also be extremely rewarding when you make a split-second, lifesaving decision. Trauma surgeons often operate on victims of car accidents in cases where multiple organ systems need surgical care rapidly. Trauma surgeons typically work closely with emergency room doctors in hospitals.

Orthopedic Surgeon

The median salary for attending orthopedic surgeons in the United States is $409,405, according to Orthopedic surgeons perform surgery on muscles and bones for conditions like arthritis, trauma injuries and joint replacement. Orthopedic surgeons must complete medical school and a five-year residency program before they can become an attending surgeon.

Heart Transplant Surgeon

The median salary for attending heart transplant surgeons in the United States is $433,406, according to Heart transplant surgeons must complete a five year residency program in general surgery and then complete a two year fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery, according to Weill Cornell Medical College. Heart transplant surgery is extremely stressful, but also rewarding when you can shake the hand of a patient you operated on after saving his life.

Plastic Surgeon

The median salary for plastic surgeons in the United States is $321,017, according to Plastic surgeons must complete a six year residency program after medical school to become an attending plastic surgeon. Three of those years will be spent in general surgery and three are spent in plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons perform procedures like face lifts and breast implant surgeries. However, they also help correct things like facial deformities caused by traumatic accidents and burns.


Neurosurgeons are required to train for at least 14 years before performing brain surgery. Neurosurgeons make between $354,000 and $936,000 a year, according to The average salary for neurosurgeons is $541,000. Neurologists must complete a six-year residency program after medical school before working as an attending surgeon.


Carolyn Gray started writing in 2009. Her work history includes line and staff management in the Finance and Controller's Department of New York Telephone and NYNEX. Gray has a Bachelor of Arts in government from Clark University and a Master of Business Administration from New York University's Stern School of Business in Management and Organization Behavior.

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