How to Become a Surgeon in India: An In-depth Guide

June 27, 2024
how to become a surgeon

Quick Summary

  • Complete an MBBS degree and pass entrance exams for postgraduate surgical training.
  • Choose a surgical specialty and gain admission to a specialized training program.
  • Obtain the required certifications and licenses to practice as a surgeon in India.

Table of Contents

Interested in the medical field and aspiring to become a surgeon? Surgeons are not just doctors; they are life-savers, dedicated to repairing the human body and restoring health.

From orthopedic surgeons handling fractures to neurosurgeons performing brain surgeries, and from cardiovascular surgeons treating heart conditions to general surgeons with diverse expertise, their impact is profound. Surgeons bear immense responsibility for their patients’ well-being, leveraging their skills and expertise.

Join us on a journey through the roadmap to becoming a surgeon in India, exploring educational requirements, essential skills, specialized fields, and career opportunities.

Steps to Become a Surgeon in India

Let’s break down the journey of becoming a surgeon in India. There are three major academic pit stops you will make along the way:

Step 1: Undergraduate Medical Degree (MBBS)

An MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) is your starting point. This course lasts about 5.5 years, including a one-year mandatory rotating internship. You get to learn all the basics of medicine and healthcare and trust me, it’s a wild ride! To get enrolled in this course, you will have to appear for NEET, a medical entrance exam held throughout India.

Step 2: Postgraduate Specialization (MS or DNB)

Once you’ve got your MBBS degree, it’s time to specialize. This is where you pick surgery as your love and pledge allegiance to it for three years while you pursue a Master’s in Surgery (MS) or a Diplomate of National Board (DNB) course.

Step 3: Super-specialty Training (MCh or DNB)

If you feel an inclination towards a specific field of surgery, like neurosurgery or cardiovascular surgery, you can go for further specialization through an MCh (Magister Chirurgiae) or a super-specialty DNB course. It’s another 3-year commitment, but hey, you’ll come out the other side as an expert!

Step 4: Licensing and Certification

The last step involves registering with the Medical Council of India or the State Medical Council to make it official.

Specializations in Surgery

Along with how to become a general surgeon, you might want to enquire about specializations. Here are some popular ones. There are a variety of surgeon courses, but each surgeon course offers a different set of knowledge and skills.

General Surgery

General surgeons are like the jack-of-all-trades. They’re typically dealing with a wide array of surgical procedures, primarily focusing on abdominal contents. It’s a great choice if you like variety!

Cardiovascular Surgery

The heart is a complex organ, and cardiovascular surgeons are the maestros conducting the orchestra. They perform surgeries on the heart and blood vessels, often working on the clock to save lives.

Neurosurgery

Neurosurgeons operate on the brain. It’s not just brains, though. Neurosurgeons also deal with the spine and the peripheral nerves.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

If creativity is your forte, plastic surgery might interest you. From enhancing aesthetics to reconstructing damaged areas, plastic surgeons truly transform lives.

Urology

Urologists specialize in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of conditions involving the urinary tract system in both males and females, as well as the male reproductive system. They perform surgeries like kidney stone removal, prostate surgeries, bladder surgeries, and treatments for urinary incontinence.

Ophthalmology

Ophthalmic surgeons focus on the surgical management of eye conditions. They perform cataract surgeries, corneal transplants, retinal detachment repairs, and refractive surgeries like LASIK. Ophthalmic surgeons work to preserve and improve vision.

Pediatric Surgery

Pediatric surgeons specialize in surgical care for infants, children, and adolescents. They address surgical conditions unique to the pediatric population, including congenital anomalies, pediatric cancers, and neonatal surgical emergencies. Pediatric surgeons perform various procedures, such as hernia repairs, cleft palate surgeries, and corrective surgeries for complex congenital disorders.

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Skills Required to Become a Surgeon

We have covered the educational pathway and various specializations needed to become a surgeon. The technical skills that get you through surgery are just one part of the package, though. Being a surgeon is about so much more:

Technical Skills

Picture this – you’re in an operating room, scalpels and sutures at your disposal, a patient’s life in your hands. Scary, right? But that’s where excellent hand-eye coordination and precise motor skills come in. As a surgeon, you’ll need to perform precise procedures. Sometimes, they might go on for hours.

Attention to Detail

In the world of surgery, the smallest slip can have massive consequences. That’s why attention to detail is extremely critical. Whether it’s noticing a slight change in a patient’s vitals or identifying a tiny complication during surgery, your keen eye can be the difference between success and failure.

Problem-solving skills

Not everything will go according to plan. You’ll encounter complex cases, unforeseen complications, and high-pressure situations. But your problem-solving skills will come to your rescue here.

Physical Stamina

As we’ve mentioned before, surgeries can last for hours. You’ll need to be in top physical shape to endure the rigors of surgery without letting it affect your performance.

Communication Skills

As a surgeon, you’re not just dealing with diseases and disorders. You’re dealing with real people with real emotions. Communicating effectively with your patients, their families, and your team is crucial.

Ability to Work Under Pressure

The operating room can be high-stress. Handling this pressure is a key aspect of a surgeon’s career.

Teamwork and Leadership

Surgeons work closely with a team of healthcare professionals, including nurses, anesthesiologists, and other surgeons. They should possess strong teamwork and leadership skills to coordinate and collaborate effectively for optimal patient care.

Resilience and Stress Management

Surgery can be physically and emotionally demanding. Surgeons must exhibit resilience, cope with stress, and maintain composure during challenging situations to provide the best care to their patients.

Continuous Learning

Medicine and surgical techniques are constantly evolving. Surgeons must commit to lifelong learning, staying updated with the latest research, advancements, and technologies to provide the best possible care.

Ethical and Professional Conduct

Surgeons must uphold high ethical standards, demonstrating professionalism, integrity, and respect for patient autonomy and confidentiality. They should prioritize patient welfare and follow ethical guidelines in their practice.

Top Colleges in India to Become a Surgeon

After completing junior college, you may wonder, “How to become a surgeon after 12th?” Choosing the right medical college is crucial for pursuing a prestigious surgeon’s degree. Here’s a look at the top 10 colleges in India:

1. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi: This is the most famous medical college in India. It boasts state-of-the-art facilities and eminent faculty. It also provides rigorous training and abundant exposure, ensuring you excel in your field.

  • Eligibility: Applicants must have completed their MBBS degree from a recognized university, including a mandatory rotating internship.
  • Admission Criteria: Selection is based on candidates’ performance in the AIIMS PG Entrance Examination, comprising written and clinical/practical assessments, with consideration of merit and reservation norms.
  • Facilities: AIIMS Delhi offers state-of-the-art surgical departments, well-equipped simulation labs, research centers, extensive medical library resources, and hands-on clinical rotations at their renowned hospital.

2. Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore: CMC offers a great mix of academics and practical training. The hospital associated with the college is one of the largest in India, providing ample hands-on experience.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English (typically around 50%-60% aggregate). Valid NEET score for undergraduate admissions.
  • Admission Criteria: CMC Vellore UG Entrance Exam, interview, and assessment.
  • Facilities: State-of-the-art medical facilities, research centers, libraries, hostel accommodation, and extracurricular activities.

3. Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune: AFMC gives you a chance to serve the country while learning medicine. Known for its disciplined training and excellent facilities, AFMC shapes well-rounded professionals.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English (around 50%-60% aggregate). Clear NEET-UG exam for admission.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores, written test, interview, and medical examination.
  • Facilities: High-standard medical and surgical facilities, modern laboratories, research centers, hostels, and sports grounds.

4. Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry: JIPMER provides high-quality education and training in various medical specialties. The campus boasts modern infrastructure and a large hospital that caters to a vast population.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with PCB and English (general category – 60%-70% aggregate, lower for reserved categories). Admission is based on NEET-UG scores.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores.
  • Facilities: Advanced medical facilities, research centers, libraries, hostel facilities, and sports grounds.

5. Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Delhi: MAMC offers a great learning environment with an extensive curriculum and hands-on training. It’s affiliated with three hospitals, offering students rich clinical exposure.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English (typically around 50%-60% aggregate). Valid NEET score for admission.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores and counseling process.
  • Facilities: Medical facilities, laboratories, libraries, hostel accommodation, and extracurricular activities.

6. King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow: This is one of India’s oldest and most prestigious medical colleges. It offers a variety of UG, PG, and super-specialty courses.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with PCB and English (generally around 50%-60% aggregate). NEET score required for admission.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores and counseling.
  • Facilities: Medical facilities, research centers, libraries, hostels, and sports facilities.

7. Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi: In this college, you will get a multitude of medical and surgical specialties. It has a sprawling campus housing 3 major hospitals.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English (around 50%-60% aggregate). NEET-UG score required for admission.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores and BHU PMT counseling.
  • Facilities: Medical facilities, research centers, libraries, hostels, and sports grounds.

8. Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Manipal: KMC is known for its innovative teaching methods and world-class infrastructure. The attached hospital serves a large population, giving students ample clinical experience.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English (typically around 50%-60% aggregate). NEET score required for admission.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores and counseling process.
  • Facilities: Medical facilities, research centers, libraries, hostels, and sports facilities.

9. Madras Medical College (MMC), Chennai: MMC offers a variety of PG and super-specialty courses in medicine and surgery. The attached hospital is one of the largest in Asia, providing a great learning experience.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English (around 50%-60% aggregate). NEET-UG score required for admission.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores and counseling process.
  • Facilities: Medical facilities, research centers, libraries, hostels, and sports grounds.

10. Grant Medical College (GMC), Mumbai: GMC provides excellent clinical exposure and hands-on experience with its attached state-run hospitals.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English (around 50%-60% aggregate). NEET score required for admission.
  • Admission Criteria: NEET-UG scores and counseling process.
  • Facilities: Medical facilities, research centers, libraries, hostels, and sports facilities.

Getting into these top colleges requires hard work, dedication, and stellar performance in entrance exams like NEET and AIIMS PG.

Career Opportunities as a Surgeon

Let’s face it: a surgeon’s career is long and hard. But the rewards are plenty once you’ve completed all your surgeon courses. As a surgeon, you can find a job in various settings:

Hospital-based Surgeon

Surgeons can work in hospitals, performing surgeries and providing pre-and post-operative care to patients. They collaborate with other medical professionals and contribute to multidisciplinary teams in specialties like general surgery, orthopedics, cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, and more.

Private Practice

Surgeons can establish their private practice, offering specialized surgical services to patients. This avenue allows for greater autonomy and the potential for higher income, but it also involves managing administrative and business aspects of the practice.

Academic Surgeon

Surgeons can pursue academic careers, combining clinical work with teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. They may research, contribute to medical advancements, and publish scholarly articles.

Global Health and Humanitarian Work

Surgeons can participate in medical missions and humanitarian organizations, providing surgical care to underserved populations worldwide. This allows them to make a significant impact on improving healthcare access and outcomes in disadvantaged communities.

Surgical Subspecialties

Surgeons can choose to specialize further within a specific area of surgery, such as pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, or neurosurgery. Sub specialization offers the opportunity to develop expertise in a particular field and provide highly specialized care.

Surgeon Salary in India

A surgeon’s salary in India varies widely depending on your specialization, experience, and the setting you work in. But on average, surgeons earn around INR 1 lakh to INR 2.5 lakh monthly. But more than money, the satisfaction you get from saving lives is priceless!

Embracing the Path to Become a Surgeon

A surgeon requires technical skills, scientific understanding, and a compassionate heart. With a journey that stretches over a decade, it’s a path that demands dedication, persistence, and a love for learning that extends well beyond the years of formal education. But the light at the end of the tunnel is the countless lives you get to touch and transform, the countless tears you get to wipe, and the countless smiles and happy faces you encounter.

Now that article has covered the steps to becoming a surgeon in India, specializations, skills needed, top colleges, and career opportunities, you’re better equipped to take your first step toward your surgery degree.

The path to becoming a surgeon in India might seem overwhelming, but remember, every long journey begins with a single step. So what are you waiting for? Start your journey today if you’re ready to embrace the challenges and rewards of being a surgeon.

Evaluate numerous career choices to choose the right career path for yourself. Dive in to our guide on Career Advice.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ’s )

How many years will it take to become a surgeon?

Becoming a surgeon requires an extensive period of study and training. It generally takes around 5.5 years to complete an MBBS degree, which includes a 1-year internship. This is followed by a 3-year general surgery residency. If you opt for super-specialization, that’s another 3 years. So overall, it’s about 9-12 years after your 12th grade.

How can I become a surgeon after the 12th?

If you’ve finished 12th grade with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, the first step is to clear the NEET examination for admission into an MBBS degree. After MBBS, you must pursue a postgraduate degree in surgery (MS or DNB). Some may choose to super-specialize further, which requires additional years of study and training.

Can an MBBS become a surgeon?

MBBS is the foundational degree for anyone aspiring to become a surgeon. However, an MBBS alone does not qualify you to become a surgeon. You must pursue a postgraduate degree in surgery after MBBS. This equips you with the specialized knowledge and skills required to perform surgeries.

What is the salary of a surgeon?

The salary of a surgeon in India can vary greatly depending on factors like their field of specialization, experience, and place of employment. On average, surgeons in India earn between INR 1 lakh and INR 2.5 lakh per month. Highly experienced or specialized surgeons can earn even more.

What are the top surgical specializations?

As mentioned above, there are multiple surgical specializations to choose from – General, Orthopedic, Cardiovascular, Neurosurgery, and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Each field offers unique challenges and rewards and caters to different areas of medicine.

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