21 statistics and facts for orthopedic surgeons — compensation, net worth and more

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Here are 21 statistics to know:

1. Orthopedists earn an average salary of $443,000 annually. Orthopedics has been at the top of the Medscape physician compensation list since 2015. Cardiology is second at $410,000, according to Medscape's compensation report.1


2. The 11 highest paying states for orthopedic surgeons are:4

  • New Jersey: $494,510
  • Washington, D.C.: $487,773
  • California: $484,118
  • New York: $475,933
  • Connecticut: $469,966
  • Massachusetts: $463,856
  • Alaska: $460,991
  • Maryland: $456,717
  • Rhode Island: $450,404
  • Washington: $450,100
  • Delaware: $449,467


3. Orthopedic surgeons' compensation increased 5 percent from 2015. Rheumatologists had the greatest increase; 12 percent.1


4. The orthopedic surgeon compensation breakdown by setting is:

  • Healthcare organizations: $510,000
  • Single specialty groups: $489,000
  • Multi-specialty practices: $470,000
  • Hospitals: $378,000
  • Academic, research, military or government: $342,000
  • Outpatient clinic: $155,000


5. Only 44 percent of all orthopedic surgeons feel they are fairly compensated. The difference between those that are fairly paid to those who think the compensation is unjust is $156,000.


6. Compensation for orthopedic surgeons varies between genders. A male orthopedist make $448,000 to $395,000 for females. Those numbers break down further when considering if a physician is self-employed or employed by another organization. A self-employed male makes $464,000 compared to $340,000 for a self-employed female. An employed male physician makes $433,000 compared to $422,000 for an employed female.


7. Compensation varies based on geographic location because of the cost of living in certain areas as well as the need to recruit physicians to underserved places with lower costs of living.

  • The highest earnings for orthopedists were in the Southwest and the Great Lakes with both regions averaging $467,000. The Northeast was second with $466,000. The lowest were in the Mid-Atlantic and South Central region with $405,000 and $415,000, respectively.
  • The highest earner in 2015 was the Northwest at $460,000. In 2016, it dropped to $435,000. However, the lowest earners of 2015, the West at $333,000, and the Northeast at $381,000, both saw substantial increases averaging $426,000 and $466,000, respectively.


8. Orthopedic physicians have the highest level of net worth among any medical specialty.5

  • Approximately 22 percent of orthopedic physicians are worth $500,000.
  • Approximately 14 percent are worth between $500,000 and $999,999.
  • Approximately 20 percent are worth between $1 million and $1,999,999.
  • Approximately 26 percent are worth between $2 million and $5 million.
  • Approximately 18 percent are worth more than $5 million.


9. Orthopedic surgeons were the ninth most in-demand provider. Family physicians were the most demanded, according to the Medicus Firm 2016 Provider Placement Summary.3


10. Men account for 91 percent of all orthopedic surgeons. Women account for only 9 percent of the field.1


11. Approximately 29 percent of orthopedists participate in ACOs, an 8 percent increase from last year. Six percent of orthopedists not currently in ACOs expect to join an ACO this year.


12. Cash-only practices and concierge practices are not popular payment models for orthopedists with a mere 3 percent of orthopedists engaging in cash-only practices and a reported 1 percent in concierge practices.


13. Of the surveyed orthopedists, 45 percent spend between 30 to 45 hours a week with patients, 11 percent spend under 30 hours a week with patients and 44 percent spend more than 46 hours a week with patients.


14. Bureaucratic tasks are the primary cause of physician burnout. Among surveyed physicians, 56 percent who are self-employed and 66 percent who are employed spend 10 or more hours a week on paperwork and administrative tasks.2


15. ACA participation continues to be relatively low for orthopedics. Only 21 percent plan on participating in the exchanges this year, which is a 3 percent increase from last year. The number of physicians declining to participate dropped steeply from 81 percent to 34 percent, with the remaining 45 percent undecided.1


16. Self-employed orthopedists accept new and see current Medicare and Medicaid patients at a rate of 62 percent, and employed orthopedists are at a rate of 87 percent.


The percentage among both groups has increased from last year's rates of 58 percent for self-employed and 73 percent for employed.


17. Orthopedists find numerous aspects of the job rewarding:

  • 46 percent said gratitude/relationships with patients were the most rewarding elements.
  • 28 percent who said career proficiency was the most rewarding aspect.


18. Only 49 percent of orthopedists claimed they would choose a career in medicine again if they were able to start over; 65 percent or orthopedists said they would stay in the same specialty.


19. Physician burnout is approaching an "almost critical level". Burnout rates for 2016 are higher across all specialties this year. For orthopedics, 47 percent report feeling burned out. Critical care, urology and emergency medicine physicians have the highest reported rate of burnout at 55 percent.2


20. Fifty-three percent of orthopedists reported being overall satisfied with their careers. The most satisfied physicians for the second year in a row are dermatologists, with a 65 percent satisfaction rate. Nephrologists boast the lowest satisfaction rate at 47 percent.1


21. Orthopedists are open to discussing the cost of treatment with patients as 22 percent of them regularly discuss it, 34 percent discuss it under certain circumstances and 30 percent discuss it if the patient brings it up. Only 14 percent do not discuss cost with patients.



1 Medscape Orthopedist Compensation Report 2016. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2016/orthopedics

2 Medscape Orthopedist Lifestyle Report 2016. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/lifestyle/2016/orthopedics

3 Clinician Signing and Relocation Bonuses Rose in 2015

4 11 Highest Paying States for Orthopedic Surgeons

5 Physician Debt and Net Worth Report 2016

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