Like Richard said, there is huge variability in surgery salaries. There are a lot of types of surgeons (e.g. general surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons). Then, there are two major settings in which surgeons can practice: academic hospitals, usually affiliated with a major university, and community hospitals. Academic surgeons on average make significantly less than surgeons in community hospitals, but they get to research, publish, teach, and mentor. According to the AAMC, the average starting salary for a thoracic surgeon in academic medicine is $465,000. Keep in mind there is so much context in these numbers, however. Furthermore, you have to go through 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5-7 years of residency, and often 2-3 years fellowship just to be a fully trained surgeon.