What is a "specialist?"
Individuals who graduate from medical school eventually direct their interest to a particular field of medicine.
After selecting a specialty area to further their training, physicians can choose a more specific sub-area of that specialty in which to become a subspecialist. For example, a pediatrician may choose the subspecialty of endocrinology and become a pediatric endocrinologist.
To help you make appropriate physician choices and gain confidence in the expertise of your health professional, ISMA's Doctor Details offers brief descriptions of some of the various kinds of physician specialists.
Select and click a specialty from the list below to read its description.
Medically and surgically manages conditions of the reproductive and urinary systems and their associated structures. Treats diseases or injuries to the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra; in males, treats disorders of the prostate and genitals. Investigates male fertility and sexuality dysfunction.
Specializes in caring for patients with joint, muscle and connective tissue diseases like arthritis. Patients they treat suffer from gout, rheumatoid arthritis, joint inflammation and lupus erythematosus.
Uses radiologic (X-ray) and imaging methods to diagnose and treat diseases. Interprets scans and images, performs diagnostic procedures like angiography, guided biopsy and drainage procedures.
Specialist in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental, addictive and emotional disorders like psychoses, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, developmental disabilities and sexual dysfunction. May assist with stress, crises and lifestyle problems.
Diagnoses and treats diseases involving the respiratory system including the chest, lungs, bronchial tubes and even the nose, pharynx, larynx and heart. Cares for patients with emphysema, asthma and other serious respiratory disorders.
Surgery specialist who deals with repair, reconstruction or replacement of physical defects involving the skin, musculoskeletal system, hands, extremities, breast, trunk and external genital organs.
|Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist||
(May Be Called Physiatrist)
Concerned with diagnosing, evaluating and treating patients with impairments and disabilities that involve the various bodily systems, particularly after injuries or strokes. Works to restore physical, psychological, social and vocational function and to alleviate pain. May use exercise, prosthetics, orthotics and mechanical or electrical devices.
Physician specialist concerned with the health, welfare and development of children, adolescents and young adults. Offers well child and preventive care. Understands the constantly changing status and standards of what is normal for a specific age.
Gathers information from microscopic examinations of tissue specimens, cells and body fluids from clinical laboratory tests. Acts as consultant for other physicians in the diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of diseases.
(Called Ent or Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist)
Cares for patients with diseases and disorders that affect the head, neck, ears, respiratory system and related structures. Has knowledge of speech-language pathology, chemical senses and allergy, plastic surgery and other medical areas as they relate to the head and neck.
Provides care for musculoskeletal problems including fractures of bones, injuries, deformities, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and disturbances of the musculoskeletal system.
|Optician - Not a medical doctor||
(Description offered for clarification)
Makes and fits glasses and contact lenses. Does not treat eye diseases or prescribe medications.
|Optometrist - Not a medical doctor||
(Description offered for clarification)
May prescribe glasses and contact lenses and test for glaucoma. However optometrists do not go to medical school and cannot provide medical and surgical treatment for eye disorders. However, they are able to write some prescriptions.
Provides comprehensive eye and vision care. The only physicians medically trained to diagnose, monitor and medically or surgically treat all eyelid and orbital problems affecting the eye and visual pathways. May also prescribe glasses and contact lenses.
Specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer and cancerous tumors. May coordinate a cancer patient's care involving subspecialists and manage life-extending treatment for diseases that not long ago were hopeless.
Specializes in the medical and surgical care of the female reproductive system and associated disorders. Treats pregnancy, menopause and fertility problems. A physician may work primarily in one area (obstetrics) or the other (gynecology).
Provides surgery and non-operative management of disorders of the body's nervous systems, their support structures and blood supply. Provides care for patients with epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, tumors and lesions of the brain and spinal cord. Assists with pain management.
Diagnoses and treats all categories of disease or impairment of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles and autonomic nervous system as well as the blood vessels that relate to these structures. Manages patients with headaches, strokes, seizures and chronic neuromuscular diseases.
Concerned with disorders of the kidneys and urinary system that often result from high blood pressure, fluid and mineral balance, dialysis of bodily wastes (when kidneys do not function). Consults with surgeons regarding kidney transplants.
(Search Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine in Doctor Details)
Pediatrician subspecialist who treats problems in premature babies. Provides critical care to infants who cannot live without medical assistance.
Provides long-term, comprehensive care for adults to manage common illnesses and complex problems. Trained in primary care medicine with an understanding of disease prevention, substance abuse, mental health, common problems of the eyes, ears, skin, nervous system and reproductive organs. Treats non-surgical diseases like diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure.
|Infectious Disease Specialist||
Deals with contagious diseases of all types in all organs. For example, sees patients with unexplained fevers, viruses, malaria and AIDS. Considered expert in preventive medicine and conditions associated with travel.
A hematologist specializes in diseases of the blood, spleen and lymph glands. Treats conditions like anemia, clotting disorders, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, leukemia and lymphoma. Training is often combined with oncology, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Works with patients requiring chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Internist with special knowledge of the aging process and skill in diagnosing, preventing and treating aspects of illness in the elderly, including rehabilitation and psychosocial problems.
General surgery is the management of a broad range of diseases. Treatment by a general surgeon varies somewhat depending on the needs of the patients in the community and the background and skills of the surgeon. Most general surgeons perform gastrointestinal, breast, and anorectal operations as well as hernia repairs, laparoscopic and open operations for gallbladder.
Internist with specialty knowledge of the digestive organs -- the stomach, bowels, pancreas, liver, colon and gallbladder. Treats conditions such as abdominal pain, ulcers, diarrhea, cancer and jaundice. Does diagnostic procedures with lighted scopes to view internal organs.
|Family Practice Physician||
Trained to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments in patients of all ages. Has broad-range training beyond the traditional general practitioner that includes surgery, psychiatry, internal medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics and geriatrics. Cares for families on a continuing basis, referring to specialists as needed.
Internal medicine subspecialist who concentrates on disorders of the glands, like the thyroid, pituitary, ovaries and testes, that control the hormone system and the pancreas that produces insulin. Manages disorders such as diabetes, osteoporosis, hormone imbalances, pituitary diseases, menstrual and sexual problems and failure to grow.
Physician who diagnoses and treats disorders of the skin, mouth, hair and nails, as well as some sexually transmitted diseases. Cares for patients with skin cancers, allergic and nonallergic disorders, dermatitis, moles and tumors of the skin. Can assist with cosmetic disorders of the skin such as hair loss and scarring.
|Colon & Rectal Surgeon||
General surgeon with additional year of training devoted entirely to colon and rectal surgery. Diagnoses and treats various diseases of the intestinal tract, colon, rectum, anal canal and perianal area by medical and surgical means. Manages conditions such as cancer of the colon, hemorrhoids, abscesses and infections around the anus and rectum.
Subspecialist in the treatment of diseases of the heart and circulatory system. Manages complex cardiac conditions such as heart attacks and abnormal heartbeat rhythms. Often performs diagnostic procedures like cardiac catheterization.
Physician whose principal task is to provide pain relief and maintain or restore a stable condition during and just after surgery or diagnostic procedures. Can diagnose and treat acute and long-standing pain problems.
|Allergist & Immunologist||
An internist or pediatrician who diagnoses and manages disorders potentially involving the immune system. Examples of these conditions include asthma, rhinitis, eczema and reactions to drugs, foods and insect bites or stings.
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