Orthopedic and Spine Surgeon Compensation: How Does Your Subspecialty Stack Up?

Written by Laura Dyrda | February 01, 2011 | Print  |
Although orthopedics remains one of the most highly compensation specialties within medicine, the compensation of orthopedic and spine specialists varied widely in 2010, with various subspecialists earning more than others and practice location also contributing to differences, according to MGMA's 2010 Physician Compensation and Production Survey, which is based on 2009 data.

Orthopedic spine surgeons were compensated more than other orthopedic specialties.
Spine surgeons were the most highly compensated orthopedic specialists last year, making an average annual salary of $710,055 while sports medicine physicians were second, making an average of $653,642. In 2009, hip and joint surgeons made an average of $597,834, trauma orthopedic surgeons made an average annual salary of $592,563 and hand surgeons made $544,106. General orthopedic surgeons made an average annual salary of $524,259 and foot and ankle surgeons made $518,463. The average on-call rate for orthopedic surgeons was $958.

Of spine surgeons, those at multi-specialty practices earned the most.
Spine surgeons working in multi-specialty group practices made $622,568 in 2009, while spine surgeons working in a single-specialty group practice made $605,139. Spine surgeons working in metropolitan areas of 50,000-250,000 residents were compensated at $717,710, which is higher than in any other metropolitan or non-metropolitan area. The Midwest was the highest compensated region of spine surgeons at $744,857.

Of sports medicine physicians, those at single-specialty groups earned the most.
Sports medicine physicians working in single-specialty group practices made an average of $599,948 last year, more than those working in multi-specialty groups. Sports medicine physicians working in metropolitan areas with a population of more than one million residents made an average of $617,913, which is $44,457 more than the second highest demographic classification of sports medicine physicians working in metropolitan areas of 250,000 to one million residents, who earned $573,456 annually.

Hip and joint surgeons earned more than trauma orthopedic surgeons. Hip and joint orthopedic surgeons earned an average of $597,834 in 2009 while trauma orthopedic surgeons earned $592,536. Hip and joint surgeons practicing at single-specialty groups earned an average of $568,389 annually, which is $4,250 more than hip and joint surgeons practicing in multi-specialty groups in 2009. Trauma orthopedic surgeons, on the other hand, earned $40,048 more at multi-specialty groups ($563,903) than single specialty groups ($523,855). The most profitable region of practice for hip and joint surgeons was the South, where they were compensated at $596,662 on average annually.

Hand surgeons earn more than foot and ankle surgeons.
Hand surgeons earn an average of $544,106 annually, compared with the annual compensation of foot and ankle surgeon recorded as $518,463. Hand surgeons in single-specialty groups were compensated at $511,263, higher than in multi-specialty groups. However, foot and ankle surgeons were compensated higher in multi-specialty groups, earning an average of $515,652 annually. Both hand and foot and ankle surgeons practicing in the South earned the most last year. Hand surgeons practicing in the South earned an average of $607,290 while foot and ankle surgeons practicing in the South earned an average of $580,903 annually.

General orthopedic surgeons earn more in multi-specialty practices.
General orthopedic surgeons who practice at multi-specialty practices earn an average of $475,403 annually, which is more than general orthopedic surgeons who work at single-specialty practices. The highest compensated region for general orthopedic surgeons was the Midwest, where they were compensated at $536,371 on average annually, which is $12,121 more than the national average ($524,250).

Learn more about MGMA.


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