Average Orthopaedic Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Orthopaedic Salary in South Africa is R250,500 per month. An entry-level Orthopaedic earns a salary range of R86,500, a Mid-career level earns about R152,000, and a senior/experienced level earns R201,000 per month.

Average Orthopaedic Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Orthopaedic 86,500
Mid-Career Orthopaedic 152,000
Experienced Orthopaedic 201,000

Types of Orthopaedics and their Functions in South Africa

Orthopaedics in South Africa encompasses various specialized fields that focus on the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions. The diverse landscape of orthopaedics in the country reflects the need to address a wide range of injuries and disorders affecting bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Here are some key types of orthopaedics and their functions in South Africa:

1. Trauma Orthopaedics

Trauma orthopaedics deals with acute injuries resulting from accidents, falls, or other traumatic events. In South Africa, where road accidents and workplace injuries are common, trauma orthopaedics plays a crucial role in managing fractures, dislocations, and other urgent musculoskeletal injuries.

2. Joint Replacement Surgery

This subspecialty focuses on the surgical replacement of damaged or arthritic joints, such as hip and knee replacements. With an ageing population and an increase in degenerative joint diseases, joint replacement surgery is vital in restoring mobility and improving the quality of life for many South Africans.

3. Pediatric Orthopaedics

Pediatric orthopaedics specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions in children. This field is essential in addressing congenital abnormalities, developmental issues, and injuries unique to the pediatric population, contributing to the overall well-being of South African youth.

4. Sports Medicine

With a growing interest in sports and physical activity, sports medicine focuses on preventing and treating injuries related to sports and exercise. South Africa’s passion for sports, particularly rugby and soccer, emphasizes the importance of sports medicine in ensuring athletes’ optimal performance and quick recovery from injuries.

5. Spine Surgery

Spine surgery addresses disorders of the spine, including herniated discs, spinal deformities, and spinal trauma. Given the prevalence of back pain and spinal conditions, this field is crucial in enhancing the quality of life for individuals experiencing spine-related issues in South Africa.

6. Hand Surgery

Hand surgery deals with conditions affecting the hand, wrist, and forearm. It is particularly relevant in the context of occupational injuries and conditions affecting manual dexterity. Hand surgeons in South Africa play a significant role in restoring functionality and relieving pain in patients with hand-related issues.

7. Orthopaedic Oncology

Orthopaedic oncology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of bone and soft tissue tumours. While relatively specialized, this field is essential for managing malignant and benign musculoskeletal tumours, contributing to improved cancer outcomes for affected individuals in South Africa.

8. Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy

Rehabilitation and physiotherapy are integral components of orthopaedic care, aiding in the recovery and rehabilitation of patients post-surgery or injury. These services are vital for restoring functionality and preventing long-term disabilities, playing a crucial role in comprehensive orthopaedic care in South Africa.

Factors Affecting Orthopaedic Salaries in South Africa

Orthopaedic surgeons play a crucial role in the healthcare system, specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of musculoskeletal conditions. In South Africa, several factors contribute to the variations in orthopaedics salaries. Understanding these factors is essential for both aspiring orthopaedic professionals and policymakers seeking to address healthcare workforce challenges.

1. Experience and Expertise

Orthopaedic surgeons with extensive experience and specialized expertise often command higher salaries. Surgeons who have built a reputation for successful surgeries or research contributions may negotiate higher compensation.

2. Geographic Location

Salaries can vary significantly based on the region or city. Urban areas with high living costs and demand for orthopaedic services may offer higher salaries compared to rural or less populated regions.

3. Hospital or Healthcare Facility

The type and reputation of the healthcare facility also influence orthopaedic salaries. Large, well-established hospitals or private clinics may have larger budgets for compensation, resulting in higher salaries for orthopaedic surgeons.

4. Public vs. Private Sector

Orthopaedic surgeons working in the private sector often earn higher salaries compared to their counterparts in the public sector. Private practices may have more financial resources, allowing them to offer competitive compensation packages.

5. Educational Background

Orthopaedic surgeons with advanced degrees, certifications, or additional training may receive higher salaries. Continuous professional development and staying updated on the latest medical advancements can contribute to enhanced earning potential.

6. Demand and Supply

Regions with a higher demand for orthopaedic services and a shortage of skilled professionals may offer increased salaries to attract and retain talent. Conversely, areas with an oversupply of orthopaedic surgeons may experience more competitive salary structures.

7. Government Policies and Funding

Healthcare policies and government funding greatly impact salaries in the orthopaedic field. Changes in healthcare funding or policies can influence the resources available for salary budgets in both public and private healthcare settings.

8. Negotiation Skills

Individual negotiation skills play a crucial role in determining orthopaedic salaries. Surgeons who are adept at negotiating their compensation packages may achieve better financial terms.

9. Economic Conditions

The overall economic conditions of the country, including inflation rates and economic stability, can affect orthopaedic salaries. Economic downturns may result in tighter budgets for healthcare facilities, impacting salary levels.

10. Workload and On-Call Responsibilities

The workload and on-call responsibilities associated with orthopaedic positions can impact compensation. Surgeons who take on additional on-call duties or handle a higher patient load may receive additional compensation.

Understanding these factors is essential for orthopaedic professionals navigating their careers in South Africa and for stakeholders involved in healthcare policy and administration. Addressing disparities and ensuring fair compensation is crucial for maintaining a motivated and skilled orthopaedic workforce.

How to Become an Orthopaedic in South Africa

Becoming an orthopaedic specialist in South Africa involves a comprehensive educational and professional journey. Here is a detailed guide on how to pursue a career in orthopaedics in South Africa:

1. Educational Background

Obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine or an equivalent qualification from a recognized South African medical school.

2. Internship and Community Service

Complete a two-year internship at a public hospital after obtaining your medical degree.
Follow this with a year of community service in a designated public health facility.

3. Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)

After completing your internship and community service, register with the HPCSA, the regulatory body for healthcare professionals in South Africa.

4. Specialization

Apply for a residency program in orthopaedic surgery. This typically takes about four to six years to complete.
During the residency, gain hands-on experience in various aspects of orthopaedics, including trauma, joint replacement, sports medicine, and spinal surgery.

5. Fellowship (Optional)

Pursue a fellowship in a specific orthopaedic subspecialty if desired, such as pediatric orthopaedics, sports medicine, or joint replacement.

6. Examinations

Successfully pass the College of Orthopedic Surgeons of South Africa (COSSA) examinations, which are necessary for specialization in orthopaedics.

7. Registration as an Orthopedic Surgeon

Once you have completed your residency and passed the required examinations, apply for registration as an orthopaedic surgeon with the HPCSA.

8. Continued Professional Development

Engage in ongoing professional development activities to stay current with advancements in orthopaedic medicine.

9. Networking and Collaboration

Build professional networks within the orthopaedic community in South Africa. Attend conferences, seminars, and workshops to stay connected and exchange knowledge.

10. Adherence to Ethical Standards

Adhere to ethical and professional standards set by the HPCSA and other relevant medical bodies.

11. Continuous Improvement

Embrace a commitment to continuous improvement by participating in research, contributing to medical literature, and staying informed about the latest medical technologies.

12. Private Practice or Hospital Employment

Decide whether to establish a private practice or work within a hospital setting. Consider the advantages and challenges associated with each option.

13. Maintenance of Certification

Maintain certification through ongoing education and periodic recertification examinations as required by the relevant medical authorities.

By following these steps, aspiring orthopaedic surgeons in South Africa can embark on a rewarding career dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders. Keep in mind that the specific requirements and pathways may vary, so it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest guidelines and regulations from relevant medical authorities.



The average Orthopaedic Salary in South Africa is R250,500 and it reflects a dynamic interplay of factors such as experience, specialization, and geographic location. Orthopaedic professionals with extensive expertise in specialized areas tend to command higher incomes. While urban centres may offer increased earning potential, rural areas may provide a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

Overall, the salary landscape for orthopaedic practitioners in South Africa underscores the importance of skillset, experience, and regional nuances in determining compensation levels within this critical medical field.

In conclusion, the diverse spectrum of orthopaedic subspecialties in South Africa reflects the multifaceted nature of musculoskeletal health. The collaborative efforts of orthopaedic professionals across these specialities contribute to addressing the unique healthcare challenges and needs of the South African population.