Average Plastic Surgeon Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Plastic Surgeon Salary in South Africa is R245,240 per month. An entry-level Plastic Surgeon earns a salary range of R158,211, a Mid-career level earns about R227,217, and a senior/experienced level earns R323,106 per month.

Average Plastic Surgeon Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Plastic Surgeon 158,211
Mid-Career Plastic Surgeon 227,217
Experienced Plastic Surgeon 323,106

Types of Plastic Surgeons and Their Functions in South Africa

In South Africa, plastic surgery is a specialized field with various types of plastic surgeons, each focusing on specific areas of expertise. These surgeons play a crucial role in enhancing and reconstructing physical appearances. Here’s an overview of the types of plastic surgeons and their functions in South Africa:

1. Reconstructive Plastic Surgeons

Reconstructive plastic surgeons specialize in repairing deformities or abnormalities caused by congenital conditions, accidents, trauma, or disease. They work on restoring both form and function, addressing issues such as cleft lip and palate repairs, breast reconstruction after mastectomy, and facial reconstruction.

2. Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgeons

Aesthetic plastic surgeons focus on enhancing the aesthetic appearance of patients. They perform elective procedures to improve symmetry, proportion, and overall cosmetic appeal. Common surgeries include breast augmentation, facelifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, and tummy tucks.

3. Hand Surgeons

Hand surgeons within the realm of plastic surgery specialize in treating hand and upper extremity conditions. This includes repairing injuries, correcting deformities, and addressing conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Their expertise is essential for restoring functionality and aesthetics to the hands.

4. Burn Surgeons

Burn surgeons specialize in the treatment of burn injuries, providing comprehensive care from the acute phase through the reconstructive stages. Their expertise involves not only immediate life-saving interventions but also long-term management to minimize scarring and improve functional and cosmetic outcomes.

5. Maxillofacial Surgeons

Maxillofacial plastic surgeons focus on surgical interventions related to the face, jaw, and neck. They address issues such as facial trauma, congenital deformities, and corrective jaw surgeries. Their work often involves collaboration with oral surgeons, dentists, and other specialists.

6. Pediatric Plastic Surgeons

Pediatric plastic surgeons specialize in addressing congenital or acquired conditions in children. This includes cleft lip and palate repairs, craniofacial surgeries, and corrective procedures for birth anomalies. Their approach considers the unique needs and growth patterns of pediatric patients.

7. Microsurgeons

Microsurgeons specialize in intricate surgeries using microscopes and precision instruments. They often perform procedures involving small blood vessels, nerves, and tissues. This expertise is crucial for tasks like tissue transplantation, replantation of amputated body parts, and complex reconstructions.

In South Africa, plastic surgeons may choose to specialize in one or more of these areas, contributing to the diverse and comprehensive nature of plastic surgery. Their collective efforts aim not only to enhance aesthetic features but also to restore function, improve quality of life, and address a wide range of medical conditions and injuries. As with any medical field, ongoing advancements and collaborations contribute to the evolving landscape of plastic surgery in South Africa.

Factors Affecting Plastic Surgeon Salaries in South Africa

Plastic surgery is a specialized medical field that encompasses a wide range of surgical procedures aimed at enhancing or reconstructing physical appearance. In South Africa, the salaries of plastic surgeons are influenced by several factors that reflect the complex interplay of economic, educational, and healthcare system dynamics.

1. Educational Background and Experience

Plastic surgeons with advanced degrees, extensive training, and years of experience often command higher salaries. Continued professional development, participation in research, and specialization in specific areas of plastic surgery can positively impact earnings.

2. Geographical Location

Salaries can vary significantly based on the geographic location of the practice. Urban areas and regions with higher living costs tend to offer higher compensation packages to attract skilled professionals.

3. Type of Practice

Plastic surgeons may work in private practices, public hospitals, or academic institutions. Those in private practice often have the potential for higher earnings, as they can set their fees and attract a clientele seeking elective procedures.

4. Demand for Plastic Surgery Services

The demand for plastic surgery services in a particular region can influence the salaries of plastic surgeons. Higher demand may lead to increased patient volume and subsequently higher earnings.

5. Economic Factors

The overall economic health of the country and the ability of patients to afford elective plastic surgery procedures can impact a surgeon’s income. Economic downturns may result in reduced discretionary spending on cosmetic treatments.

6. Technological Advancements

Surgeons who stay abreast of the latest technological advancements in plastic surgery may be perceived as more desirable by patients, potentially allowing them to charge premium fees.

7. Professional Reputation and Networking

A plastic surgeon’s reputation within the medical community and positive patient reviews can contribute to a higher demand for their services, leading to increased earnings.

8. Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement

Plastic surgeons in South Africa may face variations in reimbursement rates from medical insurance providers for different procedures. This can impact the financial aspects of their practice.

9. Regulatory Environment

The regulatory framework governing medical practices, licensing requirements, and compliance with industry standards can influence the overall structure of a plastic surgeon’s practice, potentially affecting earnings.

10. Scope of Services Offered

Plastic surgeons who diversify their services beyond cosmetic procedures, such as reconstructive surgery, may have a broader patient base and, consequently, more stable income.

How to Become a Plastic Surgeon in South Africa

Becoming a plastic surgeon in South Africa requires a combination of education, training, and practical experience. Here is a detailed guide on how to pursue this career path:

Education Requirements:

1. High School Education: Begin by completing your high school education with a focus on science subjects, particularly biology and chemistry.

2. Bachelor’s Degree: Enroll in a medical school or a pre-medical program at a university. A Bachelor of Science degree with a major in a relevant field is typically required for admission to medical school.

Medical School

3. Medical Degree (MBChB): Pursue a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at a recognized medical school in South Africa. This program generally takes six years to complete.

Internship and Community Service

4. Internship: After obtaining your medical degree, undertake a two-year internship at a hospital to gain practical experience in various medical disciplines.

5. Community Service: Following the internship, fulfil a year of compulsory community service, as required by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

Postgraduate Training

6. Specialization in Surgery: Apply for a residency program in general surgery. This typically lasts for a minimum of four years and provides the foundational surgical training necessary for plastic surgery.

7. Plastic Surgery Residency: After completing general surgery training, enter a plastic surgery residency program. This specialized training can take around 4-6 years, during which you’ll focus on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

Certification and Registration

8. Write the Fellowship Exam: Plastic surgeons in South Africa must pass the Fellowship of the College of Plastic Surgeons (FC Plast Surg) examination administered by the College of Plastic Surgeons of South Africa (CPSSA).

9. Registration with HPCSA: After completing the exam, register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to legally practice as a plastic surgeon.

Continuous Professional Development

10. Stay Updated: Plastic surgeons are required to engage in continuous professional development to stay abreast of the latest advancements in their field. Attend conferences, and workshops, and pursue further certifications as needed.

Optional Steps for Specialization

11. Subspecialization (Optional): Plastic surgeons may choose to further specialize in areas such as hand surgery, craniofacial surgery, or microsurgery through additional fellowship programs.



The average Plastic Surgeon Salary in South Africa is R245,240 per month. The salaries of plastic surgeons in South Africa are shaped by a multitude of interconnected factors. From educational achievements and professional experience to geographical location and economic conditions, understanding these elements is crucial for both aspiring plastic surgeons and policymakers aiming to support a thriving healthcare system. As the field continues to evolve, staying attuned to these factors will be essential for all stakeholders involved in the plastic surgery landscape in South Africa.

Becoming a plastic surgeon in South Africa is a rigorous process that demands dedication and perseverance. Following a structured educational path, gaining hands-on experience through internships and residencies, and obtaining the necessary certifications are crucial steps in building a successful career in this specialized field of medicine. Continuous learning and a commitment to excellence are key attributes for a plastic surgeon in South Africa.