Understanding Medical Specialties

Anesthesiology: Administration of anesthetics to alleviate pain and suppress consciousness as well as monitor and support life functions during surgery. Anesthesiologists also provide diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain.

Cardiology: Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease.

Cardiology, electrophysiology: Practitioners consult on, and provide procedural services for the management of cardiac arrhythmias (disruptions of the heart rhythm). These procedures are performed in a variety of settings, including emergency and operating rooms, intensive care units, and sophisticated clinics or laboratories.

Critical care medicine: Care provided to a critically ill patient during a medical emergency or crisis.

Dermatology: Diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin.

Ear, nose, and throat (otolaryngology): Diagnosis and medical/surgical treatment of conditions of the ear, nose, and throat.

Emergency medicine: Evaluation and treatment of unexpected injury and illness.

Endocrinology: Treatment of the glands, hormones, and related disorders, including diabetes and disorders of the pancreas, pituitary gland, ovaries, testes, thyroid, and adrenal glands.

Family medicine: Medical specialty providing continuing and comprehensive primary healthcare for individuals and families. Family physicians care for patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, men and women, and all medical problems. The specialty integrates biological, clinical, and behavioral sciences. Some family physicians provide maternity care.

Gastroenterology: Treatment of disorders of the digestive system and diseases of the stomach, intestine, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Genetics: The science of heredity, providing evaluation and identifying causes for genetically caused diseases.

Geriatrics: A primary care specialty concerned with the care of elderly patients.

Gynecologic oncology: Care for patients with cancer of the female reproductive system and genitals.

Gynecology: Medical and surgical treatment of women's diseases, including endocrinology, reproductive, and urinary functions.

Hematology/oncology: Treatment of diseases of the blood and blood-making tissues and cancer.

Infectious disease: Treatment of the disease process dealing with the suppression of the immune system.

Infertility and reproductive endocrinology: Concerned with both male and female primary and secondary infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, and menstrual disorders of all types.

Internal medicine: A type of primary care physician who specializes in adult internal medicine, specifically the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases.

Internal medicine, hospitalist: A primary care physician who oversees the care of a patient while hospitalized, working in conjunction with the patient's personal physician.

Maternal-fetal medicine: Care of high-risk pregnancies including fetal abnormalities, preterm delivery, maternal diabetes, and other medical conditions that may jeopardize the mother or baby, as well as prenatal diagnosis and ultrasound to detect problems of pregnancy.

Nephrology: The diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the kidney.

Neurology: Treatment of diseases and disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system.

Nuclear Medicine: Branch of medicine involved with the use of radioactive substances for diagnosis, therapy, and research.

Obstetrics and gynecology: Care for women before, during, and after pregnancy and at menopause as well as the medical and surgical treatment of the female reproductive and urinary systems.

Occupational medicine: Deals with the prevention and treatment of illness and injury related to the workplace.

Ophthalmology: Diagnosis and treatment of vision disorders and diseases of the eye.

Orthopedic surgery: The treatment of deformities, diseases, and injuries of the bones, joints, and muscles. Sports medicine is a subspecialty.

Otolaryngology: Medical and surgical care for ear, nose, and throat problems.

Pathology: Studies the essential nature of disease, especially as it relates to the structural and functional changes in the tissues and organs of the body that cause or are caused by disease.

Pediatrics: Treatment and care of children and adolescents; a pediatrician who provides primary care and prevention for children. Subspecialty training includes specific medical conditions of children such as cardiology, hematology, and orthopedics.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation: Evaluation and treatment of diseases of the joints, nerves, and muscles to restore function.

Podiatry: Diagnosis and medical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, leg and lower back.

Psychiatry: The prevention, diagnosis, and medical treatment of mental and emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, phobias, and schizophrenia.

Pulmonary medicine: Diagnosis and treatment of lung disease such as chronic obstructive lung disease, emphysema, and asthma.

Radiation oncology: Use of high-energy X-rays to a local area of the body with the intent of causing tumor cell death (radiation therapy).

Radiology: Uses X-rays, mammography, CT scan, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRI, and image-guided interventional procedures to visualize the body and its organs to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Rheumatology: Diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic (flammation and autoimmune) diseases involving joints, muscles, connective tissues and soft tissues around the joints and bones.

Surgery, cardiac: Diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart including coronary bypass surgery, repair and replacement of heart valves, and so on.

Surgery, colon and rectal: Surgery of the large intestine, rectum, and related structures.

Surgery, general: A wide range of surgical procedures including the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques.

Surgery, neurosurgery: Treatment of all intracranial, spinal, and peripheral nerve problems.

Surgery, oncology: The use of surgery to remove cancerous tumors or tissue.

Surgery, plastic: Reconstruction and contouring of the body, including correction of burns, skin wounds, lesions, and congenital defects, as well as cosmetic procedures.

Surgery, thoracic: Use of surgery to treat diseases of the chest and lungs.

Surgery, vascular: Treatment of diseases of the blood vessels.

Urogynecology: Care for women with pelvic floor dysfunction including uterine prolapse and problems with the bladder and rectum.

Urology: Diagnosis and treatment of the urinary tract in men and women and the male reproductive system.