Brain Surgeon Salary: Specialization, Education and Universities

The average annual income for a neurosurgeon is $528,514. Individuals in the bottom 10% of all neurosurgeons can expect to earn less than $281,084 per year, while those in the top 10% with more experience can earn more than $789,441 per year. Their pay is among the highest in the healthcare industry, including among physicians. 

What Factors Influence a Brain Surgeon’s Pay? 

Many factors influence a brain surgeon’s compensation, most notably those that affect much of the healthcare business, namely experience, geographic location, and reputation. In the United States, the average compensation for a brain surgeon is roughly $220,000. 

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While a rookie brain surgeon can earn a lot of money (compared to a new family doctor), a seasoned surgeon who has had a lot of time to polish their skills and gain experience will earn more because they are more knowledgeable in the profession. 

In the medical industry, reputation is also important; doctors who are well-known for having a solid, proven track record might demand higher pay or fees for their services, as their reputation will contribute to the overall favorable outlook of the firm. 

Specialization and Education 

Brain surgeons must complete a far more extensive training program than most other medical professions; between internships, residencies, and fellowships, this training can run up to (and beyond) eight years, not including the eight years required for bachelor’s and medical degrees. This considerable training, on the other hand, contributes to the higher-than-average starting income that brain surgeons can expect. 

Neuro-oncology, cerebrovascular neurosurgery, and gamma knife surgery are only a few of the sub-specialties in brain surgery. Expertise in these numerous sub-specialties leads to pay raises, especially because there is more demand than supply in these fields. 

Position and Experience 

The income of a brain surgeon is heavily influenced by experience, with a new surgeon earning roughly $110,000 and those with ten or more years earning more than $600,000. 

A brain surgeon’s compensation can be influenced by his or her position, though to a lesser extent; leading a neurosurgery department will provide some benefits, but not nearly as much as the reputation that led to this assignment. 


Working in a hospital or other health care facility, or starting a private practice, is a crucial element in determining annual salaries for brain surgeons. Those who do run a private practice, on the other hand, are frequently called in to hospitals for short-term contracts, covering for the hospital’s in-house doctor who may be on leave or absent for an extended period of time. 

Another way to increase your annual wage is to teach at a college or university. 


The location of employment has a significant impact on the compensation of a brain surgeon. The finest wages are found in Wyoming, Washington, and Wisconsin, albeit the Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not indicate what those wages are. Along with Portland, Maine, and Worcester, Massachusetts, Nashua, New Hampshire, is one of the best-paying cities. 

What is Neurosurgery and how does it work? 

Neurosurgeons operate on the neurological system, treating patients with head injuries, brain aneurysms, herniated discs, spine and brain cancers, and peripheral nerve issues. Typically, surgeons undertake more spine procedures than brain operations, while emergency head trauma operations are still common. Neurosurgeons may also operate as part of a broader team to treat and rehabilitate neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease without resorting to surgery. 

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Educational Requirements

A prospective neurosurgeon will enter a neurosurgery residency program, which lasts an average of seven years, after four years of medical school and a general surgery internship. Surgeons are trained in all facets of neurosurgery, including trauma, tumors, vascular surgery, and pediatrics, at this facility. Once a surgeon is in practice, she must keep up with the most up-to-date operations and treatment methods, which are always changing. After several years of practice, an experienced neurosurgeon may take the optional American Board of Neurological Surgery examination and gain board certification. 

Neurosurgery is one of the most difficult branches of surgery, and neurosurgeons command some of the highest incomes in medicine. In 2018, the median annual pay for neurosurgeons was $395,225, which is more than the $208,000 median for all surgeons. When a salary is expressed as a median, it signifies that half of neurosurgeons earn more than that. 


Neurosurgeons work in hospitals’ surgical departments, performing surgeries on the brain and spine. Some neurosurgeons specialize on certain sorts of spinal issues, such as neck abnormalities, spinal cord injuries, or pediatric neurosurgery on newborns and children. Because of the specialist nature of the job, a neurosurgeon may be called in for emergency treatments or to do outpatient procedures in a physician’s office, such as pain-management therapies. 

Industry Trends 

By 2026, there should be an additional 91,400 surgeon jobs, representing a 13 percent increase. Because the prevalence of neurological illnesses rises with age, this significantly faster-than-average growth rate is mostly due to an aging population. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, neurological infections, and brain tumors are among these conditions. 

Learning About Neurosurgery as a Career 

4+ years of medical school in a recognized MD or DO program (or foreign equivalent). The majority of medical students interested in neurosurgery will conduct extensive research in medical school, possibly leading to a combined MD/PhD degree. The majority of students conduct subinternships (sub-Is) in neurosurgery at their home institution and/or a number of other institutions near the conclusion of the first clinical year or throughout the second clinical year in preparation to apply for residency through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). 

Residency: ACGME-accredited residency program for seven years, with each program taking 1-4 residents per year. Although the framework of each program differs, the following is a broad outline: PGY1 (internship): neurosurgery, neurology, neuropathology, neuroradiology, neurosciences ICU, or other surgical specialities rotations 

Fellowship: 1-2 years following residency. Fellowships in cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery, complex and minimally invasive spine surgery, skull base surgery, and functional neurosurgery are required for further specialization in pediatric neurosurgery. Many residency schools provide “enfolded” fellowships, in which residents can spend their 1-2 years of protected elective time to specialize on their preferred subspecialty, obviating the need for additional study after residency. The regulations for fellowship certification are currently in flux; expect them to change by the time you become a resident. This guide will be updated with new rules. 

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Career: Academic or private practice are the two most common paths taken by clinical neurosurgeons. Academic neurosurgeons are responsible for seeing patients in clinic, operating, and educating residents, fellows, and medical students at university-affiliated medical centers. 

Academics engage active research participation in bench-based research, clinical research, or engineering/innovations work, either as the primary investigator of a laboratory or as a collaborator. Neurosurgeons in private practice usually work for small to mid-sized groups and have operating privileges at one or more hospitals, where they see their own patients. Neurosurgeons can pursue additional careers in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, as well as finance, the military, and government service.

Neurosurgeon Specialties 

Skull Base Surgery and Cerebrovascular Surgery 

Aneurysms and strokes are two prevalent neurological diseases caused by abnormalities with the brain’s vascular system. Cerebrovascular surgery is a subspecialty of surgery that focuses on preventing and treating these problems. Some procedures are done by open surgery, while others are done through the use of small devices to mend veins from the inside. Skull base neurosurgeons collaborate with otolaryngologists, oncologists, and plastic surgeons to remove malignancies that were previously inoperable from the sinus cavities and other hard-to-reach places. The neurosurgeon’s specialty is mostly cardiovascular, and he or she will oversee the surgery to ensure that the complicated network of blood vessels in the area is not harmed. 

Neurocritical care 

The brain and spinal cord nerves are protected by the skull and spine. Accidents and acts of violence, on the other hand, might result in severe injuries that jeopardize the patient’s ability to survive and function. Neuro-trauma surgeons work with these patients to try to minimize nervous system damage and maximize the chances of a full recovery. Intensive care Patients in crisis are also treated via neurosurgery. Patients are at risk of massive strokes, acute diseases, and other catastrophic neurological problems in these situations. Palliative care is frequently provided for patients whose condition is irreversible but can be made tolerable through surgical intervention. 

Interventional Neuroradiology and Neuro-Oncology 

The study and treatment of cancers is known as oncology. According to sources, brain tumors are among the deadliest and most difficult to treat, and they are the domain of neuro-oncologists. The Front Ranges Neurosurgery and spine surgery. Neuro-oncologists design procedures for eliminating brain tumors while causing the least amount of damage to the surrounding brain tissues. This speciality, more than any other, makes extensive use of diagnostic radiological imaging, particularly computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans. 

Neuroradiologists frequently collaborate with oncologists, lending their skills in picture interpretation. Interventional neuroradiologists take it a step further, guiding microscopic surgical instruments through the brain’s blood vessels using sophisticated imaging methods. Internally, they can mend damaged veins or block blood arteries that feed malignancies. 

Pediatric Neurosurgery 

Pediatric neurosurgery is a subspecialty of neurosurgery that focuses on the requirements of children. Most neurosurgical subspecialties are focused on specific operations or medical issues. Children’s bodies are physically smaller and less sturdy than adults’, posing additional challenges for surgeons. Pediatric neurosurgeons must be well-versed in both neurosurgery and pediatrics since they undertake a wide range of procedures on their young patients. Pediatric neurosurgeons, for example, treat birth abnormalities, catastrophic head injuries, and severe epilepsy.

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Schools offering Neurosurgery 

The University of Kentucky is located in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The University of Kentucky has established itself as a superb research-based public university since 1865. Its goal is to educate today’s youngsters in order to mold them into important future world leaders. 

In practically every aspect of school, the faculty at the University of Kentucky nourishes students with thought-provoking education. Another strong department at the University of Kentucky is medical education. 

The University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine deals with neurosurgery, including clinical neurosurgery research and instruction. 

Yale University is a private university in New Haven

Yale University is the most important and influential academic institution on the planet. The University of Yale has established itself as a global learning platform for local as well as aspiring international students from all areas of life since its founding in 1701. 

The medical area is covered by Yale School of Medicine from a global perspective of research-based medical studies. 

Stanford University is a prestigious university in California. 

Stanford University stands lofty and enlightened after 125 years, with 2219 faculty members and 16430 students benefiting. 

The Stanford Neurosurgery Department is regarded as one of the country’s premier educational and research institutions. 

The Stanford Neurosurgical Department is equipped with cutting-edge machines and technology, allowing student neurosurgeons to gain hands-on experience with the most up-to-date equipment. 

At Stanford University’s Neurosurgical Centre, over 4,000 surgeries are performed each year. 

Trainees receive sufficient skills and experience under the guidance of research faculty and 60 neurosurgeons. 

Miami University is a public research university in Miami, Florida. 

The University of Miami is widely regarded as one of the best research universities in the United States. The University of Miami, which has 11 institutions and over 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, delivers education and knowledge to people from all areas of life. 

Each year, almost $324 million is spent on various research-based programs. The Neurosurgical Department is managed by the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. At the Miller School of Medicine’s Neurosurgery Surgical Centre, cutting-edge techniques such as minimally invasive spine surgery and FDA-approved simulators are used. This expands the learning options for young neurosurgical students. The 20 internationally recognized and skilled neurosurgeons undertake about 5,000 procedures each year, providing opportunities for future neurosurgeons to learn from them. 

University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

The University of Michigan is one of Michigan’s most prestigious and distinctive universities, with over 260 programs. More than 17000 students from various areas and grades are shaped by the united efforts of more than 19 schools and universities. 

Michigan Medicine’s Neurosurgery department offers a specialty in neurosurgery to qualified clinicians with a good academic background. Neurosurgery residents are skillfully trained under the knowledgeable and proficient supervision of researchers and professors at Michigan Medicine. Because of the crucial nature of the neurosurgical area, the trainees are continuously supervised and coached. 

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Endovascular Neurosurgery, Epilepsy Surgery, Functional Neurosurgery, Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery, Spinal Surgery, and Peripheral Nerve Surgery are just a few of the research-based courses offered by the Department.


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