How to Become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Become a doctor | Accredited Pre Medical Course and Kit

You will need:

  1. to study a premedical degree (4 years) then
  2. study another 4 years at medical school followed by
  3. a 5-year general surgery residency, and after that
  4. a 2-year cardiothoracic surgery residency

 

 

After that you may also want to do further fellowships. It is a competitive residency, so you will have to have to do very well in medical school to be selected.

The cardiothoracic surgeon salary:

A cardiothoracic surgeon’s salary in private practice is up to $500,000 or more per year depending on how much you choose to work, of course. Cardiothoracic surgery is not for the faint-of-heart. Long years of training, long hours of working, studying, and long hours of surgery requiring intense focus both during residency as well as during your years of practicing as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Cardiothoracic surgeon salary = $500,000+ per year.

What is cardiothoracic surgery?

Cardiac surgery involves surgery to the heart and large blood vessels.

 

Thoracic surgery involves surgery to the lungs and any other structures within the chest cavity.
Cardiac and thoracic surgery are separate surgical specialties in some countries while in other countries, like the USA and the UK, they are usually grouped together.

Watch this video of a cardiothoracic surgeon opening up a patient’s chest cavity:

The heart has intrigued mankind throughout history, ascribing to the heart a number of mystical and spiritual attributes, the heart has always occupied a place as an organ in the human body elevated above all the other organs. To some extent rightly so as the heart (like the brain) is a vital organ. If the heart stops functioning, the person will soon lose consciousness and will die within minutes without medical intervention. In the early days of surgery, it was very difficult to perform surgery on the heart. There was a high mortality (death rate), but two advances in surgery changed that dramatically:

The development of the heart-lung machine – a medical apparatus that can take over the functions of the heart for a number of hours (operated by a perfusionist) giving the heart surgeon hours of time to operate on the heart with very little or no bleeding.
The development of mechanisms to cool down the temperature of the heart during the surgical procedure – giving the cardiac surgeon extra hours to perform quality surgery on a motionless heart, and then warming the heart again and “restarting” the pumping functions of the heart.

The following is a quote from one of the pioneers in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. Nicholas T. Kouchoukos, M.D. “If you are a student or resident with intelligence, drive, and stamina, who loves challenges, hard work and positive outcomes, who is results-oriented, loves working with your hands as well as your brain, and enjoys caring for others and interacting with highly competent physicians and other health care professionals, you should strongly consider becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon…” Click here for full article.

Best wishes for your success!

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Onthatile Cynthia Matshoge said:2014-08-18 17:29:07I really love your article and i'm interested in the career.See i'm a 15 year old girl in grade 9,who would love to become a cardiac surgeon one day,but dont know were to start,which medical school to attend and which scholarship to apply for,my question is were can i apply for my further education.

Reply>

Dr. Anton Scheepers said:2014-08-18 19:58:19Well - step one is completing your schooling career in excellence - especially Maths, Science (Physical science and chemistry) and Life sciences. Also consider attending the Apprentice Doctor Camp in 2015 See: http://www.sci-bono.com/Events/Apprentice%20Doctor.php

Tatiana said:2014-07-31 06:46:33How many hours a week& day do you work?

Reply>

Dr. Anton Scheepers said:2014-08-01 07:04:12I work about 30 - 36 hours a week in my practice - but I am very busy with a lot of other activities and business ventures. Most of my colleagues work double these hours though.

Eddie Rego said:2014-07-28 10:15:05How many hours would you expect to work per week? Could you potentially take lower pay for lower hours? Lastly, is the stereotype true that cardiothoracic surgeons are always on call (aka, waking up in the middle of the night to perform surgery)? No need to fluff the answers, I am determined to go enter this field, nonetheless!

Reply>

Dr. Anton Scheepers said:2014-07-28 18:21:26Employed: The days of unlimited hours are very much over as it is all the more regulated - and one would be able to work civil hours - like 40-48 a week - (at least in theory - but in reality 50+) and one will be on an after-hours call roster every 2-4 weeks - possibly on a first and second call arrangement. Self employed: Your weekly hours will be more your decision but probably in the region of 60 hours - and one wound team up with other Cardiothoracic surgeons in the area for an after-hours call roster to help referred/emergency patients. Unfortunately one is 24/7 on call for your own patients - you won't expect another surgeon to get up in the middle of the nigh to stop a bleed on a patient on whom you operated during the day for instance. As a cardiothoracic surgeon you will probably get much more night sleep hours as compared to an Obstetrician. Of course you can work less hours - but somehow one gets in a mode of working hard - as this is the way it goes during your long residency years... (My comments are based on observation over years rather than personal experience (I am a MFOS Surgeon) - any cardiothoracic surgeons want to comment?)

Sammi said:2014-07-25 14:53:19What high school subjects would you focus on to become this specialty as a career?

Reply>

Dr. Anton Scheepers said:2014-07-25 18:28:18Maths, Science (physics/chemistry), biology (life sciences).

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