Xypathos

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Alright, so I've heard a lot about this field but can't really find that much actual useful information on it.

I google it, and get a lot of AMSA interviews from already practicing surgeons.

Could anyone please tell me what kind of individual goes into this field as far as personality and character, and what kind of training does this specifically entail? I've only been told that it takes 8-10 years for the full training, not sure how up to date this is now.

Thanks for any help,

X
 

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Xypathos said:
Alright, so I've heard a lot about this field but can't really find that much actual useful information on it.

I google it, and get a lot of AMSA interviews from already practicing surgeons.

Could anyone please tell me what kind of individual goes into this field as far as personality and character, and what kind of training does this specifically entail? I've only been told that it takes 8-10 years for the full training, not sure how up to date this is now.

Thanks for any help,

X
A Cardiovascular surgeon, aka "cardiothoracic" surgeon gets to that point by doing the following (US training numbers below):

1) 4 years of medical school
2) 5-7 years of general surgery residency (some surgical residencies are a mandatory 7 yeras and many will spend at least a couple of years in the lab above the usual required 5 years)
3) 2 years of Cardiothoracic fellowship.

Total 11-13 years of training after college. Some do additional Thoracic training or superspecialize in Peds CT which requires more training.

CT attracts all sorts of people, although the stereotype is someone who is very Type A, abrasive, etc. I've met some lovely CT surgeons and others who are less wonderful. You have to be able to handle the dwindling reimbursement, the lack of job opportunties after graduation, the encroachment on your field from Cardiologists and Radiologists, and the poor work hours (lots of emergencies).
 

Teee

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i thought vascular surgery was different from thoracic surgery and what do you mean "the lack of job opportunties after graduation"? with such rampant news about obesity and smoking, i would have thought there would be many opportunities... but anyway, what do i know...
 
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Teee said:
i thought vascular surgery was different from thoracic surgery and what do you mean "the lack of job opportunties after graduation"? with such rampant news about obesity and smoking, i would have thought there would be many opportunities... but anyway, what do i know...
A Cardiothoracic Surgeon is trained in surgery of the heart and thorax (Need a valve replacement?, Bypass surgery?)

A Vascular surgeon is trained in surgery on the vasculature (Aneurysms, etc...)
 

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Teee said:
i thought vascular surgery was different from thoracic surgery and what do you mean "the lack of job opportunties after graduation"? with such rampant news about obesity and smoking, i would have thought there would be many opportunities... but anyway, what do i know...
the lack of job opportunities comes from the fact that interventional cardiologists and interventional radiologists (as well as better rads technology in the past 15 or so years) has swayed much of the public to go with less invasive procedures that at one time would have been done by a cardiothoracic surgeon. as far as smoking and obesity...cigarrette taxes will continue to increase and much of the smoking public will be priced out of the habit...on the other hand, yes, america is a fat country. but, heart problems that are related to obesity can still be taken care of by interventional cards and rads in many cases. the actual obesity would fall under general or bariatric surgeons with the increase in gastric bypass.

i'm not saying that people shouldn't go with the more invasive surgical procedures offered by cardiothoracic surgeons. i'm just saying that at this time (and possibly in the future) a large fraction of the american public seem to be going with interventional cards/rads.

that being said, i believe there will always be a place for ct surgeons in academics.
 

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Teee said:
i thought vascular surgery was different from thoracic surgery and what do you mean "the lack of job opportunties after graduation"? with such rampant news about obesity and smoking, i would have thought there would be many opportunities... but anyway, what do i know...
Typically when one asks about Cardiovascular Surgery they are asking about physicians who operate on the heart. The Vascular surgeon typically operates on vascular disease OUTSIDE of the chest - the abdomen and periphery. The Cardiothoracic Surgeon is limited to the chest cavity but may work in conjunction with a Vascular Surgeon for a long thoracic aneurysm.

So I assumed the OP was talking about CT Surgery when they asked about Cardiovascular Surgery; some CT surgeons do only Cardiac Surgery and no Thoracic, but it is the preferred term (over CV Surgeon).

At any rate, your question about "lack of job opportunities" has been answered well below. The number of people who smoke is at an all time low and while obesity is still a problem fewer people are dying of cardiovascular disease than they used to, or are being treated percutaneous or with meds much more frequently.

There will always be a need for CT surgeons - valves, transplants, pediatric anomalies, etc. aren't going away just yet.
 

Teee

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okay, thanks! phew... i can still be a CT surgeon ... in academics
 

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The job market in CT surgery is very, very tight. That's why you have so many CT fellowships going unfilled. I suppose people are saying to themselves what's the point of doing an additional 2-3 year fellowship after going through 5 years of general surgery residency only to get out on the other end without an attending job in the fellowship they trained for. There are lots of CT surgeons fresh out of fellowship who aren't finding jobs, so they either stay in limbo by doing additional CT sub-fellowships (pediatric CT, minimally invasive CT, CT transplantation) or many go back to doing general surgery. Also just because they do an additional sub-fellowship doesn't mean they're more likely to land a job. Something like only 1-3 full time attending jobs open up every year in pediatric CT surgery in the entire country. Do the math: all those fellows in their final year and all those previous fellowship grads going for those 1-3 jobs.
 
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Xypathos

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I know it's not a good idea to base job prospects upon salary earned, but I was looking at some listings out of interest.

it seems that a CT surgeon can earn between 2-300k

While cardiovascular surgeons seem to command an average salary of around $500k

Why is this? I would have figured that thoracic surgeons would command a much higher salary with transplantations.

I just ran it by my mother as well, and in her clinic she says the Cardiovascular surgeons make between 400-600k, while the thoracic ones only see 300k range.

Hopeing someone could explain this.
 
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Blade28

CT surgeons usually = CV surgeons

The "thoracic" surgeons you're talking about may be the "non-cardiac thoracic" surgeons
 

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The term “cardiovascular surgeon” is not one with a fixed definition. The only people I’ve heard call themselves this are cardiac surgeons. However, in some parts of the world the “cardiovascular surgeon” exists because cardiac surgeons are also trained in and perform peripheral vascular surgery. This may be possible in the states as both are fellowships following GS and possibly Canada (as I think you can still apply for a vascular fellowship following a cardiac surgery residency) but impossible in the U.K as CT is a separate training scheme all together. In order to actually practice both cardiac and vascular surgery you would have to demonstrate that you perform enough procedures in each field to be truly competent to practice. Is this actually doable in N.A… probably not. Both are very demanding fields. Those who practice cardiac surgery to its extent rarely have time to manage a thoracic list as well (maybe pulmonary but not oesophageal). There are a few old boys rocking around with the title “Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon” but now due to the immense sub specialization of medicine it’s highly doubtful that peripheral vascular surgery is practiced by anyone other than a vascular surgeon.
 
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