Types of Doctors - Specialty Definitions

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Types of Doctors - Specialty Definitions

Postby patoco » Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:00 pm

Types of Doctors - Specialty Definitions

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Adolescent Medicine: The specialty of physicians with the experience and training to help young people meet the medical, psychological and social challenges that occur during the transition from childhood to adulthood.

AIDS/HIV Care: A multidisciplinary effort that’s often led by primary-care physicians working in cooperation with case managers, registered nurses, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, and others. The goal: Improve the health and comfort of AIDS/ HIV patients by addressing their physical and emotional needs.

Anesthesiology: The science of applying anesthetics and managing pain during medical procedures. Anesthesiologists are physicians who are primarily concerned with administering the various drugs that keep patients from feeling pain during surgery and other procedures and childbirth.

Asthma, Allergy & Immunology: The study and treatment of the body's reaction to foreign substances. The ailments treated by immunologists include hay fever, asthma, hives and other abnormal responses to allergens that range from dust and food to animals and chemicals.

Breast-Cancer Surgery: Surgeons specializing in cancer of the breast are skilled in a number of surgical options, ranging from mastectomies to sentinel-node biopsies. They also work with a multidisciplinary team that may include oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists and others to determine the best strategy for follow-up treatment and care.

Cardiac Surgery: Highly trained and certified cardiac surgeons correct and repair multiple heart conditions, including coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease. Many cardiac surgeons specialize in minimally invasive surgeries that are performed through a small incision and require less recovery time and improve patient safety and comfort.

Cardiology: The study of the heart. Cardiologists often specialize in a particular area, but collectively they diagnose and treat patients suffering from diseases of the heart, lungs and blood vessels; perform heart surgeries; and educate patients on preventing heart problems and living a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Colorectal Surgery: The treatment of diseases of the intestinal tract, anus and rectum through surgery. Colorectal surgeons not only operate to remove malignancies, they strongly encourage the testing that can lead to early detection. If caught early, colorectal cancer can be cured. Colorectal surgeons also deal with hemorrhoids, polyps and other ailments.

Critical Care: Emergency departments and special-care units offer the services of highly trained physicians and nurses to provide minute-to-minute care to critically ill patients and patients whose lives are in danger.

Dermatology: The medical field devoted to the study and treatment of disorders and diseases of the skin. Dermatologists help patients deal with a range of concerns, from warts to acne to skin cancers.

Diabetes: Specialists in this field of medicine provide education in diabetes management, along with other tools to help patients take control of their diabetes and prevent it from interfering with active, healthy lives.

Emergency Medicine: Emergency medicine specialists provide urgently needed treatment for injured and ill patients to prevent a worsening of the condition, disability or death. This treatment and care usually takes place in a hospital emergency room.

Endocrinology: This branch of medicine focuses on the body’s “ductless” glands and how they function. Endocrinologists are concerned with the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands, among others, as well as nutritional disorders, sexual disorders, and problems such as diabetes and hypertension.

Epilepsy: Neurologists specializing in this field of care help patients living with epilepsy and other seizure disorders live full and active lives. Treatment can involve surgery or medications, or can be a combination of both.

Family Practice: Family practice physicians provide comprehensive medical care with an emphasis on caring for all members of the family. Family practice builds upon a core of knowledge derived from other disciplines, primarily pediatrics, internal medicine, OB/GYN, geriatrics, surgery and psychiatry. The family practitioner plays the role of personal physician.

Gastroenterology: The study and treatment of conditions of the digestive system. A gastroenterologist diagnoses and treats disorders of the stomach, intestines, bowels and other structures, such as the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and esophagus. Gastroenterologists focus on maladies that include ulcers, jaundice, hepatitis and cancer.

General Surgery: The study and practice of all types of surgical operations. General surgeons perform a number of procedures aimed at treating a range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, appendicitis, tonsillitis and hernia.

Geriatrics: The study of aging and the treatment of problems in the elderly. Geriatric-care specialists consider a range of illnesses and conditions as they specifically affect the aged. These physicians frequently address the psychological and social aspects of aging, in addition to the physical aspects.

Gynecologic Oncology: The study, diagnosis and treatment of tumors and cancers in the female reproductive system, including breast care.

Gynecology: The study and care of the female reproductive system, including breast care. Gynecologists provide routine care for women and treat a full spectrum of illnesses that particularly affect women.

Hand Surgery: Surgeons in this specialty are trained to diagnose and repair damaged and injured hands. The conditions they treat range from carpal tunnel syndrome to sport-related injuries and the reattachment of severed fingers.

Head and Neck Surgery: Surgeons who are trained in head and neck surgery generally have subspecialties in areas that include otology (diseases of the ear), rhinology (diseases of the nose) and/or laryngology (diseases of the throat and larynx).

Headache: Neurologists who specialize in treating victims of chronic headaches and migraines and offer their patients multiple treatment options, including the latest medications, physical therapy, biofeedback and psychological counseling.

Hematology: The medical specialty concerned with blood and the blood system. A hematologist treats blood diseases such as cancer, lymphoma, serious anemia and sickle cell disease.

Infectious Diseases: Diseases, often communicable, that are caused by the growth of various microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses. A specialist in infectious diseases diagnoses and treats patients affected by illnesses ranging from pneumonia to salmonella to AIDS.

Infertility Medicine: A field of treatment and research aimed at helping individuals and couples who want children but are having fertility problems or are otherwise having trouble conceiving. Procedures might include artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, where an egg is removed from a woman’s ovary, fertilized in a lab and then placed in the woman’s uterus.

Internal Medicine: A broad-based medical field in which physicians rely on their knowledge of major organs to diagnose and treat patients. Internists treat a variety of afflictions, from colds and heart problems to infectious diseases. Internists often serve as a patient's primary doctor, coordinating all that person's health care.

Midwife (CNM): A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a registered nurse who has completed an advanced course of study and is certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. A midwife is trained to care for women during pregnancy, labor and the postnatal period; conduct normal deliveries; and to care for newborn babies under normal circumstances.

Movement Disorders: Neurologists specializing in movement disorders are trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the nerves and muscles that may prevent such simple functions as walking across a room with ease or drinking a glass of water without spilling. These disorders include tremors, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s chorea and Tourrette’s syndrome.

Neonatology: A field of medicine devoted to the care and treatment of infants up to six weeks old. Neonatologists concentrate on the full spectrum of medical problems that can affect newborn babies.

Nephrology: The study and care of the kidneys and urinary system. Nephrologists treat kidney disorders, diabetes, renal failure and other illnesses. Treatments can range from dialysis to kidney transplants.

Neurology: The study and treatment of diseases of the nervous system. A neurologist assists patients who have stroke complications, head injuries, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and other afflictions of the brain and spinal cord.

Neuro-ophthalmology: Specialists in this branch of medicine offer the experience and the resources to help people with brain-related visual problems – as well as eye-movement problems – find hope for improved eyesight. Therapies range from botulinum toxin injection to nonsurgical treatment for facial spasms and excessive blinking.

Neurosurgery: Neurosurgeons specialize in surgically treating diseases and disorders of the nervous system. The nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord (central nervous system), along with the nerves of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nervous system).

Nuclear Medicine: A specialty that uses radioactive substances and sophisticated diagnostic equipment to determine a variety of conditions and diseases. The equipment used in nuclear medicine – including MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) – reveals the inner workings of the body and its organs.

Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN): OB/GYN is the field of medicine devoted to conditions specific to women. Obstetrics is the care of a woman during pregnancy and during and after childbirth. Gynecology is the study and care of the female reproductive system. An OB/GYN specialist combines these two disciplines to provide comprehensive care for women.

Oncology – Medical: Medical oncologists are specialists in using various medications to treat and manage patients with cancer. This includes the use of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, painkillers to manage cancer pain, and drugs that will eliminate or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.

Oncology – Radiation: Radiation oncology is the field of medicine that uses therapeutic applications of radiation to manage cancer and other diseases. Radiation oncologists determine the type of radiation that will be used, as well as the amount or dose, and the number and length of treatments.

Ophthalmology: The medical specialty devoted to care of the eye and the treatment of diseases that affect eyes and vision. An ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats abnormalities of the eye and performs surgery on the eye. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors and are different from optometrists (who test vision and prescribe corrective lenses) and opticians (who make or sell corrective eyewear).

Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery: The branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and surgical treatment of diseases, injuries and deformities of the teeth, mouth and jaw. An oral surgeon removes wisdom teeth, repairs broken jaws and treats a range of other conditions. Specialists in this field are also called dental surgeons.

Orthopedic Surgery: The medical field concerned with the prevention and correction of muscular or skeletal injuries and abnormalities. Orthopedic surgeons treat complex conditions and injuries as well as broken bones, severe muscle sprains, and knee and other joint injuries. They also perform joint replacements.

Otolaryngology (ENT): A division of medical science that focuses on the ears, nose and throat (ENT). Otolaryngologists diagnose and treat disorders from the shoulders up, with the exception of the eyes and brain. Conditions they may deal with include hearing loss, tonsillitis and nasal obstructions.

Otology: An otologist is a specialist in the anatomy and structure of the ear, and how to treat diseases of the ear.

Pain Management: Physicians and other pain experts choose from an extensive series of diagnostic tests to precisely identify the source of a patient’s pain. Treatment and management possibilities are wide ranging and include physical therapy, behavioral therapy, biofeedback and pain-relieving devices that are implanted under the skin.

Pathology: The study of the nature and causes of disease. A pathologist examines body tissues to diagnose of diseases, and to determine the cause of various conditions, including death. There are several subspecialties in pathology, including chemical pathology, forensic pathology, hematology pathology and neuropathology.

Pediatrics: The field of medicine dedicated to the care of infants, children and teenagers. Doctors in this field are called pediatricians. They are often the first doctors children see, and they concentrate on preventing illness and treating children for a variety of conditions, including sore throats, earaches and infectious diseases.

Pediatric Specialties: Usually, a family physician or pediatrician will address the health problems of children. However, when there is a serious illness or injury, a child may need care from a pediatric specialist – a physician with advanced training and expertise in a particular area of medicine. Board-certified pediatric specialists provide medical services in areas ranging from cardiology and infectious diseases to neurology, orthopedics and surgery.

Perinatology: A branch of medicine dealing with medical and biological issues that affect the birth of a child. Perinatology combines obstetrics, gynecology and neonatology, and includes treatment of a fetus or a newborn and the mother.

Physiatry: A physiatrist is a physician who specializes in physical medicine, which is the curing of injuries and disease by natural methods. Measures that are used include physical therapy, massage, exercise, light and heat.

Physical Rehabilitation: Physicians and therapists who specialize in physical rehabilitation help patients who’ve had a stroke or serious injury return to home, work or school. The goal of therapy is to restore lost function through hands-on treatment, exercise and patient education.

Plastic/Reconstructive Surgery: The repair, restoration or reconstruction of different parts of the body. Plastic and reconstructive surgeons not only perform elective cosmetic surgery to improve appearance, they also repair and reconstruct the facial features and bodies of patients with conditions caused by burns, injuries, diseases and congenital deformities.

Podiatry: The study, prevention and treatment of problems of the foot. A podiatrist may prescribe corrective devices and medication, or recommend physical therapy. Podiatrists attend colleges of podiatric medicine and graduates are doctors of podiatric medicine (DPM). Podiatrits with advanced training also do various types of foot surgery.

Prostate Care: Cancer or other conditions affecting the prostate may be treated by surgeons, cancer specialists and/or urologists using a wide range of therapies. Depending on the specific problem, a course of treatment can involve everything from surgery and medications to high-dose radiation.

Psychiatry: The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Psychiatrists are physicians who prescribe appropriate medication and do therapy to treat of a variety of conditions, from depression to schizophrenia.

Psychology: Psychologists deal with mental processes – both normal and abnormal – and their effects upon human behavior. Psychologists typically have a doctorate degree, but are not medical doctors and do not prescribe medications.

Pulmonary Medicine: The field of medicine devoted to the study and treatment of diseases of the respiratory system. Pulmonary specialists – called pulmonologists – treat pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, cancer and other disorders of the lungs and respiratory system.

Radiology: The use of radioactive equipment, including X-ray machines, to diagnose and treat diseases and injuries. Specialists in this field are called radiologists.

Rheumatology: The study and care of the joints and the muscular and skeletal systems. Rheumatologists treat a range of conditions, from athletic injuries to arthritis, lupus and rheumatic fever.

Sleep Disorders: The field of medicine devoted to the study and treatment of disruptions in sleeping patterns. Specialists in this field work with patients to overcome such conditions as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

Sports Medicine: The field of medicine devoted to athletic injuries. Doctors specializing in sports medicine help patients prevent and recover from a range of injuries – from sprained knees and back strains to broken bones and torn ligaments – suffered while engaging in sports activities. Many sports medicine doctors also help design athletic training equipment and training methods.

Thoracic Surgery: The study and practice of surgery on the chest cavity and rib cage, including the heart, lungs and esophagus. Thoracic surgeons treat patients with lung cancer, coronary diseases, aneurysms and heart diseases.

Transplant: Surgeons specializing in organ transplants take a multidisciplinary approach to surgery and follow-up care that addresses all of patient’s physical and psychological needs. Patients receive an extensive orientation prior to transplantation, which can involved the kidneys, liver, heart and other organs.

Urology: The study and treatment of the male and female urinary tracts and the male genital tract. Urologists diagnose and treat disorders of the urinary tract, prostate and bladder.

Vascular Surgery: The focus is on surgical solutions to diseases of the body’s blood vessels, including the heart and lymph systems. Vascular surgeons treat patients for lymphatic diseases, strokes, aneurysms, varicose veins and other conditions.

Swedish Medical Center - Seattle, Washington




National health Service - United Kingdom

Types of Doctors/Areas of Medicine

There are more than 60 specialties - each is unique but there are many characteristics which are common. You will need to work as a part of a multi-disciplinary team in virtually every specialty. Some require particular skills, such as an ability to make decisions in life-threatening situations or confidence with computers. Many require an interest in teaching or research and some require particular manual dexterity.

For listings and articles see:

http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/nhs-knowle ... /5346.html


Google Directory of Medical Specialties

Links to each field

http://www.google.com/Top/Health/Medici ... ecialties/


Google Directory of Medical Specialties

United Kingdom

Links to each field

http://www.google.com/Top/Regional/Euro ... ecialties/


Which Medical Specialist For You?

American Board of Medical Specialties®



Physician Specialists

Harvard Medical School - Family Health Guide

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Postby patoco » Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:02 am

reviewed 08/10/06
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