introduction: this paper intends to answer the interrogant regarding what should be the minimum tariffs or fee schedules (surgeon？s fee) to be applied in general surgical operative procedures. materials and methods: the current fee schedules were taken as departing point, versus the personal investment by the author in terms of the time of training. inguinal herniorraphy was taken as the operation-example for the study. the paper also reviews the concepts of surgical ethics and adverse events, and intends to pose new interrogants in order to calculate the minimal tariffs considering the occurrence of the adverse effect. figures corresponding to the number of surgeons were utilized for calculating the minimal tariff. results: a minimal tariff (surgeon？s fee) was determined, and the study demonstrated that the surgeon employed by the current colombian health system works for a fee below that tariff. it was also found that the overproduction of surgeons affects that tariff.