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Neonatal surgeons are specialized physicians who command impressive six-figure salaries on a regular basis. Their salaries are above $200,000 in most instances even when first starting out, with some surgeons earning double that amount or more when they gain some experience. Their rates are among some of the highest doctors make.
Pediatric surgeons, who include neonatal surgeons, made a median salary of $355,176 in 2011, according to the Salary website. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics assumes 2,080 work hours in a year, this is the equivalent of about $171 per hour. It is comparable to the bureau's 2008 median for all specialized physicians and surgeons of $339,738.
The Super Scholar website reports that neonatal surgeons made $280,000 to $310,000 in 2011. Salary also reports that, in 2011, pediatric surgeons in the lowest 10th percentile earned $231,329, about $111 per hour. In the 90th percentile, pediatric surgeons made $406,079, or roughly $195 per hour.
Comparison to Other Doctors
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, in 2009, most surgeons earned $225,390 a year. Neonatal surgeons may have this average salary when they are first starting out, but in general, neonatal surgeons' are specialists and command higher salaries. The rates for neonatal surgeons appear to be higher than those for family and general physicians, general internists, general pediatricians and psychiatrists. The salary of a neonatal surgeon is comparable to the rates for anesthesiologists and obstetricians and gynecologists.
Why Salaries Are So High
Surgery by itself involves a high degree of medical skill, which is why surgeons earn more than general physicians -- data from the bureau indicates that general physicians averaged $173,860 in 2009, while surgeons averaged $225,390. When operating on an infant, neonatal surgeons face additional challenges simply because the patient's physical structures are smaller. They also have to take extra precautions due to the fact babies have not had time to establish as much resistance to disease. Furthermore, neonatal surgeons often deal with birth defects and similar abnormalities, which are not as predictable as the routine surgeries other surgeons may handle and which must be dealt with on a much more individualized basis.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.