Choosing a Specialist
The following list of specialties and sub-specialties is designed to help you decide and understand which type of specialist might be right for you.
If you would like more information or a referral, call our toll-free nurse call service, VitaLine at 888-815-5188.
Information was compiled from the American Board of Medical Specialties and Greystone Health Content.
Allergy and Immunology - trained in the evaluation and management of disorders involving the immune system. Commonly treated conditions include asthma, anaphylaxis, rhinitis, eczema, and adverse reactions to drugs, foods, and insect stings as well as immune deficiency diseases.
Anesthesiology - An anesthesiologist is trained to provide pain relief during and immediately following an operation, an obstetric or diagnostic procedure. Anesthesiologists diagnose and treat acute, long-standing and cancer pain problems; diagnose and treat patients with critical illnesses or severe injuries; direct resuscitation in the care of patients with cardiac or respiratory emergencies, including the need for artificial ventilation; and supervise post anesthesia recovery.
Pain Management - provides a high level of care for patients with acute, chronic and/or cancer pain.
Cardiology - Cardiologists specialize in evaluating and treating diseases of the heart, including complex cardiac conditions such as heart attacks and life-threatening, abnormal heartbeat rhythms.
Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery - Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons can surgically treat diseases of the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
Colon and Rectal Surgery - A colon and rectal surgeon is trained to diagnose and treat various diseases of the intestinal tract, colon, rectum, anal canal and perianal area. This specialist also deals with other organs and tissues (such as the liver, urinary, and female reproductive system) involved with primary intestinal disease. Commonly treated conditions include hemorrhoids and fissures. They also perform endoscopic procedures to evaluate and treat problems such as cancer, polyps and inflammatory conditions.
Critical Care Medicine - specializes in critical care medicine diagnoses, treats and supports patients with multiple organ dysfunction.
Dentistry - Pediatric - A pediatric dentist is a specialist in the field of dentistry, which includes oral healthcare for children from infancy through the teenage years.
Dermatology - A dermatologist is trained to diagnose and treat benign and malignant disorders of the skin, mouth, external genitalia, hair and nails, as well as a number of sexually transmitted diseases.
Emergency Medicine - An emergency physician focuses on the immediate decision making and action needed to prevent death or any further disability both in the emergency department and by directing emergency medical technicians outside the hospital.
Endocrinology - The endocrinologist focuses on disorders of the internal glands such as the thyroid and adrenal glands. This specialist also deals with disorders such as diabetes, metabolic and nutritional disorders, pituitary diseases, and menstrual and sexual problems.
Family Medicine - A family physician is concerned with the total health care of the individual and the family and is trained to diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments in patients of all ages.
Gastroenterology - An internist who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive organs including the stomach, bowels, liver, and gallbladder. This specialist treats conditions such as abdominal pain, ulcers, diarrhea, cancer, and jaundice and performs complex diagnostic and therapeutic procedures using endoscopes to see internal organs.
General Surgery - A surgeon manages a broad spectrum of surgical conditions affecting almost any area of the body.
General/Thoracic/Vascular Surgery - Vascular surgeons treat disorders of the blood vessels, excluding the intercranial vessels in the heart. Thoracic surgeons treat patients with conditions within the chest, including the surgical care of coronary artery disease, cancers of the lung, esophagus and chest wall, abnormalities of the trachea, abnormalities of the great vessels and heart valves, congenital anomalies, and diseases of the diaphragm.
Geriatric Medicine - An internist with special knowledge of the aging process and special skills in the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and rehabilitation aspects of illness in the elderly.
Gynecology - A gynecologist specializes in general women's medical care, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system.
Infectious Disease - An internist who deals with infectious diseases of all types and in all organs. This physician often diagnoses and treats AIDS patients and patients with fevers which have not been explained. Infectious disease specialists may also have expertise in preventive medicine and conditions associated with travel.
Internal Medicine - A personal physician who provides long-term, comprehensive care in the office and the hospital, managing both common and complex illness of adolescents, adults, and the elderly.
Neonatology - A pediatrician who specializes in the treatment of sick newborn infants.
Nephrology - An internist who treats disorders of the kidney, high blood pressure, fluid and dialysis of body wastes when the kidneys do not function.
Neurological Surgery - Neurological surgeons evaluate and treat disorders of the nervous system, brain, meninges, skull, and their blood supply. They also treat disorders of the pituitary gland; disorders of the spinal cord and vertebral column, including those which may require treatment by spinal fusion or instrumentation; and disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves.
Neurology - A neurologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of disease or impaired brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles, and autonomic nervous system, as well as the blood vessels that relate to these structures.
Obstetrics and Gynecology - An obstetrician/gynecologist is trained in the medical and surgical care of the female reproductive system and associated disorders. Includes care of pregnant women.
Oncology - An oncologist specializes in treating cancer, including surgical oncologist, radiation oncologist, pediatric oncologist, gynecologic oncologist, and medical oncologist.
Ophthalmology - An ophthalmologist provides comprehensive eye and vision care. They are medically trained to diagnose, monitor and medically or surgically treat all ocular and visual disorders.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery - Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are facial surgeons responsible for treating a wide variety of dental problems, including the removal of impacted teeth and reconstructive facial surgery. This dental specialty also includes the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects involving both functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
Orthopaedics - An orthopaedic surgeon cares for patients whose musculoskeletal problems include congenital deformities, trauma, infections, tumors, metabolic disturbances of the musculoskeletal system, deformities, injuries, and degenerative diseases of the spine, hands, feet, hip, shoulder and elbow.
Otolaryngology - An otolaryngologist cares for patients with diseases and disorders that affect the ears, nose, throat, the respiratory and upper alimentary systems and related structures of the head and neck.
Pathology - A pathologist deals with the causes and nature of disease. This specialist analyzes information gathered from the microscopic examination of tissue samples, cells, and body fluids.
Pediatrics - A pediatrician is concerned with the physical, emotional, and social health of children from birth to young adulthood.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - Physical medicine and rehabilitation is the medical specialty concerned with physical disabilities. These disabilities may arise from conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system such as neck and back pain, sports injuries, or other painful conditions affecting the limbs, for example carpal tunnel syndrome. The disabilities may also result from neurological trauma or disease such as spinal cord injury, head injury, or stroke. A physician certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation is often called a physiatrist.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - A plastic surgeon deals with the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of physical defects involving the skin, musculoskeletal system, craniomaxillofacial structures, hand, extremities, breast and truck, and external genitalia.
Podiatry - A podiatrist specializes in foot care and is licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery.
Psychiatry - A psychiatrist specializes in mental, addictive, and emotional disorders such as schizophrenia, mood, anxiety, substance-related, sexual and gender identity, and adjustment disorders.
Pulmonary Disease / Critical Care Medicine - An internist who treats diseases of the lungs and airways. The pulmonologist diagnoses and treats cancer, pneumonia, pleurisy, asthma, occupational diseases, bronchitis, sleep disorders, emphysema, and other complex disorders of the lungs.
Radiation Oncology - A radiation oncologist treats cancer and other diseases with radiation.
Radiology - A radiologist uses radioactive substances, electromagnetic radiation, and sound waves to create images of the body, its organs, and structures for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Images can also show how effectively the body and its internal organs and structures are functioning.
Rheumatology - An internist who treats disorders of joints, muscle, bones, and tendons. This specialist diagnoses and treats arthritis, back pain, muscle strains, common athletic injuries, and "collagen" diseases.
Urology - A urologist manages benign and malignant medical and surgical disorders of the urinary tract in both genders, and the genital tract or reproductive system in the male.