An issue of inquest among folks who wish to specialize in the aspect of surgery that focuses on the chest region is how much a cardiothoracic surgeon salary in Nigeria is. Although it might be difficult to ascertain the exact amount a cardiothoracic surgeon earns monthly due to differences in experience, years of service, and practice in the government or private sector. However, we can give an average cardiothoracic surgeon salary in Nigeria.

Quick Facts About Cardiothoracic Surgeon

With the increasing difficulty attached to getting jobs and gainful employment, even as medical doctors, it is about time people started to think outside the box, and venture into fields where there are few people and less competition. One of such fields is in the cardiothoracic aspect of surgery. Although many Nigerian youths want to be medical doctors, prompting them to seek admissions in one of the best universities to study medicine in Nigeria, most stick with general practice and avoid the surgical aspect of medicine.

However, with the enormity of unemployment. It is important to note that the services of surgeons, especially cardiothoracic surgeons are needed daily. The scarcity of these surgeons and the infrastructure they need to work is what makes patients battling kidney, lungs, and heart conditions in Nigeria get flown abroad to receive treatment.

In this article, you will get to know the nature of work cardiothoracic surgeons do. You will also get to know the branches that exist in cardiothoracic surgery, and their peculiarities. Ultimately, if you are willing to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery, you will have an idea what the average cardiothoracic surgeon salary in Nigeria is.

Cardiothoracic Surgeon – Who Are They and What Do They Do?

Cardiothoracic surgeons are people who are trained to practice cardiothoracic surgery. Cardiothoracic surgery is the aspect of surgery – a branch of medicine – that specifies in the performance of surgical procedures on organs that are located around the chest. “Cardiothoracic” in cardiothoracic surgery combines two words – cardio which refers to the heart, and thoracic which refers to the chest region – meaning it deals with organs such as the heart, lungs, pleurae, and the likes.

Cardiothoracic surgeons are the surgeons that open patients up to help them deal with anatomical problems in the organs that are affected in the thoracic region of the body. They spend as much as seven years studying medicine and surgery like other doctors but have their specialization in this aspect of surgery, just as we have neurosurgeons – that deal with brains.

There are few cardiothoracic surgeons around, especially in Nigeria because it is challenging to be one. This is especially due to the delicacy of the surgical procedures on the heart and the organs around it, and the availability of the jobs, since many hospitals in Nigeria will rather have their cardiothoracic patients flown out of the country to be treated than treat them here, due to lack of suitable medical equipment.

However, the demand for these surgeons have been on the rise both home and abroad due to increasing heart and lung challenges around the world.

Branches of Cardiothoracic Surgery

You may think the heart is only one organ, and the lung is another, making two major organs in the thoracic region. This doesn’t make the job easier or less challenging. It might surprise you to know that a heart procedure can an average of four hours, and that is when all things go according to plan, but as one who has been in the medical system or looking to do so, you should know, things rarely go according to plan.

To make things easy for surgery concerning the thoracic region, there are branches of cardiothoracic surgery, and they take age, organs, and procedure, into consideration. The branches of cardiothoracic surgery are:

  • General thoracic surgery

This branch of cardiothoracic surgery is all-encompassing. It involves the practice of surgery on any and every organ found within the cardiothoracic region of the human body. It means a surgeon who is classified as a general thoracic surgeon can perform surgery on any organ that is within its specified region.

  • Heart and Lung Transplant Surgery

The Heart and Lung Transplant Surgery branch of Cardiothoracic surgery specializes in the removal of damaged heart and lungs, and the insertion and working of new heart and lungs gotten from a donor and transferred into the patient.

This branch odes not try to fix a defective lung or heart, instead, it focuses on removing the bad organ and putting a good one, to improve the livelihood of the patient.

  • Adult cardiac Surgery

This branch of cardiothoracic surgery specifically caters to the surgical need of adults, and their hearts only. It means that a surgeon who practices this branch of cardiothoracic surgery only deals with fixing damages to the heart and work on adults only.

  • Congenital Cardiac Surgery

A congenital cardiac surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed on an individual – whether old or young – that has a heart condition from birth. This branch of cardiothoracic surgery differs from other branches because it specifically performs surgery on people with heart conditions they were born with, not ones they developed as the years went by.

Why are Cardiothoracic Surgeons in High Demand?

There is high demand for cardiothoracic surgeons in this era due to the abysmal quality of life we lead. As opposed to the old times when people looked out for their health and engaged in activities that unknowingly improves the cardiovascular health, we now avoid these activities and make the heart and lungs weak from various factors.

  • Poor diet

Our choices of food have changed considerably in the past 50 years. Although we are trying to find our way back to eating more greens through vegetables and fruits, junks and fast foods have been our go-to when it comes to diet. We consume foods that are high in bad cholesterol, and consequently weaken the cardiovascular organs. Hence, the need for more cardiothoracic surgeons to help put our heart in order when things go wrong.

  • Pollution

Despite the campaigns against pollution of the environment, it still happens. The burning of fossil releases smoke and fumes into the atmosphere, compromising the quality of air we pull into our lungs. This is one of the reasons for the increase in the occurrence of lung cancer.

  • Lack of exercise

An active life is needed to improve the cardiovascular health of every human, especially as one gets older. However, we have settled for the sedentary lifestyle, where we always take the easy way out of every activity to get things done.

Why trek to the bus stop when an Uber can take you to your destination from your doorstep?

  • Bad habit

One of the bad habits that has made the demand for cardiothoracic surgeons increase in recent times is smoking. Although the producers of cigarettes warn of the health hazard that is attached to smoking, people turn deaf ears.

To pay for this bad habit, the lungs get damaged and eventually need to be replaced, which is where the services of a cardiothoracic surgeon comes in.

Average Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salary in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the average cardiothoracic surgeon is a celebrity among surgeons. This is not just because they are hard to come by but also because they are well paid. Imagine in a country of more than 200 million people, there are only about 72,000 registered doctors, and only a fraction of them are cardiothoracic surgeons.

They need to be by the different hospitals they have performed a cardiothoracic procedure on any patient. This means they have income not from one hospital, but from other hospitals they have served as consultants.

On average, a cardiothoracic surgeon salary in Nigeria is about 973,000 naira. However, the price can go as high as 1.5 million naira monthly for an experienced cardiothoracic surgeon. In essence, the more experience and skill you have as a cardiothoracic surgeon, the more you can expect your salary to be. With this in mind, a cardiothoracic surgeon salary in Nigeria is enough to be categorized as a VIP, not regarding the prestige that comes with the job.


The average cardiothoracic surgeon salary in Nigeria is close to a million naira, and the more experience and skill you have as a surgeon, the higher your demand, and consequently, your price. Therefore, a cardiothoracic surgeon salary in Nigeria can be way above the average.

With this average salary, cardiothoracic surgeon is one of the highest paying jobs in Nigeria.


Editorial Review Ratings
Cardiothoracic surgeons directly impact patients' lives by performing crucial surgeries on the heart, lungs, and other vital chest organs
Cardiothoracic surgeons are among the highest-paid medical professionals due to their extensive training and specialized skills
The field enjoys high prestige and respect within the medical community and society as a whole
The complexity of cardiothoracic surgery demands a high level of intelligence, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills
Surgeons may have opportunities to travel and work internationally, contributing their skills to underserved communities and gaining valuable experience
Cardiothoracic surgeons are at the forefront of medical advancements, utilizing minimally invasive techniques and robotic surgery to improve patient outcomes
Long hours, high pressure, and critical decision-making under immense stress are common in this field
Becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon requires years of dedicated education and training, including medical school, residency, and fellowship
Long hours and unpredictable schedules can make maintaining a healthy work-life balance difficult
The high stakes nature of the field can lead to potential malpractice lawsuits, adding to the pressure and stress
Dealing with critically ill patients, facing potential complications, and witnessing losses can take an emotional toll and lead to burnout if not managed effectively
Operating rooms are high-pressure environments where split-second decisions and the well-being of patients depend on the surgeon's focus and composure

Ayomide is a fiction and non-fiction writer. A lover of science and everything mysterious that surrounds it, he seeks out new information to keep his interest alive.

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