Orthopedic surgeons fell from the No. 1 spot on Medscape's highest compensated physicians report in 2020.
The average annual pay for orthopedic surgeons is $511,000, the same rate as last year, when orthopedic surgery was the No. 1 highest paid specialty. Now orthopedic surgeons are No. 2 in pay rank, behind plastic surgeons, who went from averaging $479,000 annually last year to $526,000 this year
Cardiologists reported the third-highest average annual compensation at $459,000. Medscape surveyed almost 18,000 physicians in 29 specialties about their income, bonuses and hours worked in 2020. The data was collected between Oct. 6, 2020 and Feb. 11, 2021.
COVID-19 affected income for many specialists last year. Elective surgeries were postponed across the U.S., lowering procedure volume and reducing the hours surgeons worked. Orthopedics was affected, and both private practice and hospital-employed surgeons reported volume decreases. Overall, 42 percent of specialists expect their income levels to return to rates before the pandemic in the next year.
Despite the pandemic, specialists reported receiving incentive bonuses that were on average 15 percent of their total salary. Orthopedic surgeons reported the highest average incentive bonus among all specialists surveyed, hitting $116,000.
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