What is cardiothoracic surgery?
Cardiothoracic surgeries are the procedures performed on organs, tissues, or bones within the chest cavity. Cardiothoracic surgeons carry out operations of lungs, heart, esophagus, and other surrounding organs.
In many parts of the world, cardiac and thoracic procedures are considered to be different specialties and hence categorized as separate fields. Cardiac surgeries refer to heart or related blood vessels operations whereas thoracic procedures involves the lungs, esophagus, or other organs within the chest cavity. However, in the United States, they are combined under the same head and referred to as cardiothoracic surgery.
Educational requirements for entering cardiothoracic surgeon profession
To become a cardiothoracic surgeon, a certain qualifications must be acquired. They are as follows:
- Undergraduate degree involving the study of calculus and science subjects including chemistry, biology, and physics. It would be the first step towards a medical profession.
- Medical degree after completing undergraduate degree. You need to attend a medical college in order to graduate as a professional.
- Along with other requirements, admission to a medical school requires a good academic record and good score in the MCAT. This test can be taken in the third year of a bachelor’s degree.
- Residency training programs after degrees in order to get practical exposure and a better understanding.
- Additional trainings to excel in specific procedures that form sub-categories of cardiothoracic surgery, physicians may choose to take advanced training in any area of their choice.
Before starting practice as an independent cardiothoracic surgeon obtaining a license from the related state authorities is compulsory. However, the requirements for acquiring this permit may differ in each state.
Once cardiothoracic surgeons are done with their residencies, they may choose to get a relevant certification in their area of expertise to enhance their credibility. A certification by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery is arbitrary , but its benefit improves the surgeon’s chances of getting hired by medical centers. Also, patients prefer physicians who have acquired a certification.
Skills a successful cardiothoracic surgeon must possess
Apart of gaining the required education and training, a successful cardiothoracic surgeon must have certain skills and attributes to perform well in their chosen field, like:
- Manual dexterity
- Perfect hand and eye movement coordination
- The ability to stay focussed despite distractions
- Potential to work continuously without taking a break
The surgeon must also holds leadership qualities like:
- Performing to the best even under pressure
- Staying calm during critical situations
- The willingness and capability to direct a team
- Motivating the surgical team before or during difficult procedures
- The capability to predict any complications or hurdles by studying the patient’s health records
Cardiothoracic surgeon witness many unfortunate consequences like paralysis, loss of life, and the emotional distress of the patient or his/her family members. Therefore, it is very important for surgeons to develop emotional strength.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salary in United States
It is evident that the Cardiothoracic surgeon journey is not easy. It takes about 15 years to complete the educational requirements and a significant investment in terms of the fee paid. Along with that the ongoing hard work, training, and lengthy working hours after entering the field, Cardiothoracic surgeon deserve fair payoff .
Currently, the average salary earned by a cardiothoracic surgeon in the US is $481,200. However, the amount earned by individual professionals may vary depends on the factors like fellowships, certifications, and experience. The profession of cardiothoracic surgery offers job stability and seems to have great career prospects for aspiring medical students.
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