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List of Medical Specialties With Descriptions

November 19, 2021

A – B – C – D – E – F – G – H – I – J – K – L – M – N – O – P – Q – R – S – T – U – V – W – X – Y – Z

Acupuncture

A treatment method where a physician inserts very thin needs at specific parts of the body to alleviate pain. It’s believed that the points where needs go into the body help to balance an individual’s energy levels, and as a result, it can help in the treatment of various health conditions and improve an individual’s overall wellbeing.

Addiction Rehab

An extensive therapy that aims to reverse a person’s tendency to use or rely on alcohol and drugs. The rehabilitation program also equips them with effective and practical ways of coping with the urge and how to master relapse prevention. Before engaging in the rehab program, an individual’s extent of addiction is evaluated and then a detox phase, followed by the rehabilitation and after-care services. The objective of rehab is to help an addict achieve good health, a quality lifestyle, and happiness.

Allergy Medicine

Treatment aimed at controlling allergic reactions, the immune system’s response to foreign bodies that aren’t generally harmful. It involves the various types of medications – OTC and prescription drugs – designed to relieve or treat allergic symptoms, such as the runny nose or other respiratory conditions, such as asthma. Allergy medicine includes antihistamine, decongestants, and steroids that can be any form, from pills, nasal sprays, eye drops, and many more.

Allergy/Immunology

An allergy occurs when a person’s immune system tries to defend the body against foreign substances otherwise not harmful. These substances may include dust, pollen, pet dander, and bee stings [that might lead to a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Additionally, an allergy can also be caused by specific food items. During an allergic reaction, your immune system produces antibodies that identify specific foreign substances despite them not being harmful. As a result, the response is manifested as skin inflammations, sinuses, digestive tract problems, and respiratory issues.

Ambulance/EMS

Emergency medical services (EMS) or ambulance services is a system that provides emergency clinical services to patients identified to have life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Once an incident that triggers EMS services occurs, EMS medical professionals turn all their attention and resources to saving the patient’s life. Emergency medical response teams use ambulances or emergency helicopters equipped with the necessary medical equipment to control the illness before the patient reaches the emergency room (ER).

Anesthesiology

A medical faculty that deals with administering pain-relieving drugs during the perioperative period (before a patient undergoes surgery and post-surgery care). The medications used in managing the pain are called anesthesia, and the trained medical expert in that field is known as an anesthesiologist. Depending on the perioperative phase’s nature, the doctor might also administer ICU medicine, critical medicine, or pain medicine.

Audiology

Audiology is the scientific study of the human hearing ability. The term ‘Audiology’ is a combination of two words: ‘audio,’ meaning sound/hear, and ‘logy,’ meaning study. In this medical branch, scientists try to study the ear structure and how each part helps in hearing. Since the inner ear plays an integral role in maintaining balance, audiology also involves that field. Audiologists also try to understand and treat various hearing disorders using an audiometer, an instrument used to examine hearing loss in patients.

Behavioral Therapy/ABA

Also referred to as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), behavioral therapy is a general term that refers to clinical techniques aimed to treat various mental health conditions. The essence of ABA is to rectify or change an individual’s behavior, deemed to be destructive to their livelihood or general lifestyle. It works under the principles that behaviors are acquired or learned and that proper treatment can help a person change bad behavior.

Cardiology

A branch of internal medicine that deals with the study and treatment of various cardiovascular (heart) conditions and disorders. It is a medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and non-treatment options for a wide range of cardiovascular problems, ranging from congenital heart disease, thrombosis, coronary artery disease, heart failure, acute coronary syndrome, and electrophysiology.

Chiropractic Care

A form of treatment that involves the hands-on adjustment and other modifications of the vertebral column (spinal cord) and the general musculoskeletal system to enable the body to heal itself. An upside to chiropractic care is that it doesn’t involve invasive treatment options, such as medication and surgery. Chiropractic manipulations are an effective treatment for injuries sustained during accidents or sports. Your chiropractor will manually adjust the tendons, connecting tissues, and ligaments in the affected area to alleviate the pain.

Colon and Rectal Surgeon

Known simply as colorectal surgeons, these medical specialists deal with the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal conditions (conditions of the rectum, anus, and colon). Colorectal surgeons, commonly referred to as ‘proctologists,’ have received additional colorectal surgery training, which means they can treat various anorectal and colorectal conditions through an operation. The common conditions that colorectal surgeons treat include rectal cancer, anal itching, hemorrhoids, and rectal prolapse.

Critical Care Medicine

A medical specialty that involves diagnosing and treating a range of health conditions that have become so heightened that a patient requires intensive care. Critical care specialists, also known as intensivists, work in a highly coordinated manner using technologically updated medical equipment to ensure they stabilize the condition of the critically ill patient. It is a medical field with many ethical and social concerns. The critical care specialists must be highly competent in end-of-life decisions and counseling to patients’ families and friends.

Dentistry

A medical field that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of oral diseases. It might be tooth disease or bacterial damage to the supporting structures and other oral tissues. The professional also includes the rehabilitation of defective maxillofacial structures like jaws and congenital malformations (such as the cleft palate). (Learn about the best medical billing and coding services for dentists.)

Dermatology

Dermatology is a medical profession that deals with skin and skin diseases. It involves the study, diagnosis, and treatment of various skin abnormalities and disorders. A dermatologist is highly trained and knowledgeable of other conditions that affect the skin and help treat them. These include skin cancer, aging, oils, hair, nails, and oral membranes.

Dietitian

A dietitian is a certified and regulated medical professional specializing in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of dietary and nutritional problems. They may provide dietary care at a personal level or be part of a broader public health fraternity. They depend on the latest studies on food, health, and diseases to guide patients to make the right lifestyle choices and improve their feeding habits.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)

Durable medical equipment is any medical machine that enables doctors to provide the care a patient requires, based on their illness or health condition. For a device to qualify as a DME, it must meet several thresholds. For instance, it must be primarily used in treatment, usable, prescribed by a doctor, and set up in the home. Some DMEs include manual and electrical wheelchairs, ventilators, crutches, kidney dialysis machines, and pressure mattresses.

Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)

A medical branch that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing/balance, speech/taste, breathing/snoring issues. They also specialize in allergies and sinuses, skin disorders, maxillofacial prosthodontics, and head and neck cancer. Not only can they treat nasal and throat issues, but they can also remedy various ENT conditions by performing delicate surgeries to remove throat cancer, unblock respiratory tracts and the middle ear.

Emergency Medicine

A medical specialty meant to equip a doctor with the skills and knowledge to prevent, diagnose, treat, and care for patients with emergency healthcare needs. They also provide urgent care for severe injuries to patients of all ages. An emergency medical specialist can also offer treatment and consultation services for physical and behavioral disorders.

Endocrinology

This is the study of hormones. It is a medical field that assesses the hormonal balance in the body and involves diagnosing and treating problems with hormones. Hormones are chemicals in our body that help us in maintaining body temperature and mood. Therefore, the specialty tries to treat any chemical changes that may lead to abnormalities in the endocrine system.

Family Physician

A medical professional who has received special certification and possesses unique characteristics, skills, and knowledge that enables them to offer every family member [of any age]. They provide continuous and comprehensive healthcare and therapeutic services to a wide range of conditions, including behavioral disorders, mental issues, or social disorders.

Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology is a field in medicine that deals with studying the functions and disorders of the human gastrointestinal system. It also examines the functions and diseases of the related organs, such as the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, small intestines (ileum), gall bladder, large intestines (colon), bile ducts, and the liver.

General Surgeon

A general surgeon is a doctor trained and certified in administering general surgical procedures. They are educated in diagnosis, pre-surgery, surgery, and post-surgery patient care. They are knowledgeable in all the basic body parts and conditions that require surgery, including the digestive tract, head and neck, surgical treatment of cancer, and intensive care.

Geriatric Medicine

Geriatric medicine is a medical branch that deals with specialized healthcare for senior citizens and aging adults. The faculty appreciates that health conditions manifest themselves differently in older persons, with multiple pathologies that interact, making the aging patient react adversely to certain drugs. It focuses on keeping the aged person functional and improving their quality of life.

Hematology

The study of human blood, the different parts making up the blood, blood-forming body tissues, and blood diseases. The medical field also involves the blood therapies and treatments of blood malignancies, such as hemophilia, leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, and lymphoma. The study also focuses on treating tissues and organs nourished by the blood, such as the thymus and spleen.

Holistic Medicine

Also known as holistic therapy or integrative treatment, holistic medicine is a branch in healthcare that focuses on treating the whole body by improving physical, mental, and spiritual health. Usually, integrative therapy combines traditional healing techniques and other alternative treatment methods that a patient’s emotions, spirit, body, and mind are in balance to prevent and heal diseases.

Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Hospice and palliative care aim to help patients with chronic conditions ease their pain and provide emotional support. Typically, the patient suffers from untreatable, long-term conditions, such as AIDS, disease of the kidney, and cancer. Palliative care is administered as part of the patient’s treatment plan, but hospice helps the patient and their family emotionally as they prepare for the end of life.

Home Health

Home Healthcare is a wide range of clinical and medical services that a qualified practitioner, usually a family physician, provides to a patient at home to treat a disease or injury. It’s a more cost-effective and convenient approach to treatment, where the patient can receive quality healthcare while getting the emotional support of their family.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a special healthcare plan aimed at helping patients suffering from an advanced, life-threatening stage of a chronic illness. It’s the alternative care when the patient has but a few months to live, and there’s no active or clinical treatment being offered to the patient. Hospice care helps one lead a quality life even in their final days for a peaceful death.

Hospital/multi-practice Healthcare

Also known as a multi-practice healthcare center, a hospital is an institution built to provide a wide range of medical solutions for various body ailments, conditions, and injuries. A hospital features professional doctors qualified in multiple disciplines and equipped with the necessary medical equipment to diagnose and treat the sick (medically and surgically).

Immunology

A critical field in medicine and biology, immunology involves the study of the human immune system. It focuses on an individual’s physiological, biological, and chemical defense mechanism against diseases. Immunologists look at how the immune system (white blood cells) responds to the presence of an antigen, how it distinguishes it from normal body cells, and its reaction to prevent it from negatively affecting the body.

Infectious Disease

An infectious illness or disorder is caused by microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses. Most of these organisms live in and on the body in an inactive state, but they might cause diseases under certain conditions. Most infectious diseases are contagious, as they can be passed from one person to the other by insects or through contaminated water and food.

Internal Medicine

A field in medicine that focuses on diagnosing, treating, and providing compassionate care to patients suffering from complex health complications. An internal medicine doctor, or internist, is trained and accredited to diagnose complicated health conditions, contribute to active care of chronic conditions, and care for patients suffering from multiple diseases.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy or massage treatment is used to help an individual effectively manage a health condition or improve their health and wellness. It involves manipulating soft tissues by applying some degree of pressure on specific muscles of the body to reduce painful contractions and nerve compressions.

Medical Geneticist

A clinical geneticist is a medical professional who uses his knowledge of human genetics and applies it to medical practice. They use their scientific skill set in the diagnosis and management of certain genetic disorders. Through their expertise, they can counsel the patient and their families about treating a specific inherited disease.

Medical Transportation

Medical transportation is the transfer of patients from their homes to a medical facility for healthcare services or doctors’ appointments. Emergency transportation involves transport by an ambulance or other medically-quipped transport vehicle. Nonemergency transportation can be by ambulance, a wheelchair-accessible van, or litter vans for disabled patients or those with limited mobility.

Mental Health

Mental health deals with an individual’s emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It’s a medical branch that involves studying how we think and how that affects our actions and behaviors when in isolation or a social setting. Mental health also helps individuals to control mental stress, anxiety disorders, and depression effectively.

Midwifery

A medical branch and profession that focuses on caring for pregnant women, medical care during care, post-partum care, and caring for the newborn. It’s a medical branch steeped in medical protocols to prevent any complications during pregnancy and childbirth, assess any risks and abnormal conditions, and execute emergency services when no clinical help is available.

Nephrology

Also known as renal medicine, nephrology is a branch of internal medicine that focuses on kidney care, usually among patients suffering from chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and hypertension. Therefore, a nephrologist will use their medical expertise to diagnose, treat, and manage kidney diseases and problems, such as fluid retention, mineral salt imbalances, administering kidney dialysis, and kidney transplants.

Neurology

Neurology is the clinical study of the human autonomic, central and peripheral nervous systems. It involves diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. Some conditions that neurologists help treat include epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, and Parkinson’s disease.

Obstetricians and Gynecology

Obstetrics and gynecology are twin medical branches that deal with the study of the female reproductive system. Obstetricians are medical professionals who deal with pregnancy and childbirth, while gynecologists deal with the woman’s reproductive system’s health. They will diagnose and treat various reproductive system conditions, such as uterine fibroids, interstitial cystitis, and endometriosis.

Occupational Medicine

Occupational medicine or occupational health is the medical field that focuses on diagnosing and treating work-related injuries and ailments. Occupational medicine specialists are trained, accredited, and skilled in diagnosing and treating occupational injuries and conditions more effectively than the typical medical doctor. They work together with employers to ensure the safety of employees.

Oncology

Oncology is a field of medical science that deals with the detection and treatment of tumors and cancers. The term “onco” means mass or bulk and “logy,” which means study. Therefore, oncology focuses on the study of abnormal cell growth in different parts of the body. Diagnosis is made through X-rays and radiological methods, while treatment might involve chemotherapy.

Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology is the medical study of medical problems related to the human eye. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment (medical and surgical) of eye-related medical conditions. They include optical nerve issues, cataracts, eye infections, glaucoma, refractive problems, plastic and prosthodontics rehabilitation, and amblyopia.

Optometry

Optometry deals with visual care and eye health. An optometrist monitors the eye conditions of patients with visual problems to help them achieve proper visual health. Usually, they’ll diagnose different visual disorders by conducting eye examinations and vision tests. They also prescribe and fit eyeglasses and monitor eye-related conditions, such as Dry Eye.

Orthopedics

Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment of musculoskeletal deformities. These are disorders and health conditions affecting the bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons. An orthopedist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats sports injuries, back pains, injuries of the spinal cord, and joint pains through surgical and nonsurgical techniques.

Osteopaths

Osteopaths are doctors who specialize in osteopathy, a field in medicine that focuses not only on the treatment of medical conditions but also on providing an integrative approach to therapy. It’s a complementary treatment that involves manipulations and the musculoskeletal system through massage therapy, stretching, and body movements.

Otolaryngology

Otolaryngology is the medical study of ENT (ears, nose, and throat). Otolaryngologists or ENT doctors specialize in the treatment of ENT conditions and disorders. They are typically medical professionals who specialize in head and neck surgeries and can therefore perform surgical procedures to treat ENT problems, such as Bell’s palsy, disease of the parathyroid gland, and cochlea nerve disorder.

Pain Management

Pain management is the medical field that focuses on helping a patient suffering chronic or acute pain achieve a functional and quality lifestyle. A pain management specialist uses various pain management techniques and strategies, such as prescribing pain-relieving drugs, physical therapies, and other complementary treatment methods like acupuncture and massage therapy.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a clinical approach that aims at improving patients’ quality of life suffering from long-term, life-threatening health conditions. At the same time, their caregivers and family members also receive emotional, spiritual, and social support. Palliative care provides the resources needed to comfort and ease the pain for people who have Parkinson’s disease, cancer, heart failure, dementia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary.

Pathology

Pathology is a field of medical study and research that focuses on illnesses and health conditions. Think of it as the bridge between science and medicine. A pathologist is a medical specialized who studies all aspects of patient care, from medical examinations during diagnosis and treatment options and the use of medical technologies and disease prevention.

Pediatricians

Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in child care and the diagnosis of diseases in babies and children. They monitor and manage a child’s behavioral, physical, and mental health from the time of birth until maturity, about 18 years old. They can detect and treat various conditions among children, including abdominal pains among newborns, diarrhea, asthma, and anaphylaxis.

Pediatrics

The term pediatrics comes from the Greek word “paiatros,” which “means healer of children.” Pediatrics is a medical specialty that focuses on the health and medical care of children and minors. It involves studying, diagnosing, and treating various illnesses and diseases among infants, children, and adolescents up to 18 years.

Pharmacy

Pharmacy is a scientific branch that involves the research, preparation, and standardization of medical drugs. It covers the entire process of drug manufacturing, including monitoring the cultivation of medical plants, chemical synthesis of the compounds of medicinal value, and proper analysis of medical agents. Pharmacists are medical specialists skilled in preparing prescription drugs and doses to treat a wide range of health conditions.

Phlebotomy

Phlebotomy is the act of extracting or drawing blood by using a needle, typically on the arm or fingertip. Also known as venipuncture, phlebotomy is a common technique used by a medical specialist during medical tests and diagnoses of various diseases and ailments. The doctor will usually send the blood sample to the laboratory to confirm a particular illness or treatment.

Physiatry

Physiatry is a medical field that deals with the treatment of a wide range of health problems affecting the brain and spinal cord. A physiatrist is a medical specialist who is trained and skilled in preventing, diagnosing, and treating temporary and permanent disabilities or impairments due to brain conditions.

Physical Therapy

A non-invasive medical treatment or technique that aims at helping injured patients or people with functional impairments to achieve maximum body movements and optimum physical function. Physical therapy is usually administered on patients who suffered an injury, chronic condition, pain relief, and the prevention of future injuries.

Plastic Surgeons

Plastic surgeons are medical doctors trained, skilled, and accredited in providing cosmetic surgical procedures, such as breast augmentation, facelifts, liposuction, and tissue transfer. They also perform reconstructive surgeries for defective maxillofacial organs, and therefore, work closely with prosthodontics doctors. They are also trained in patient interactions, pre-surgical and post-surgical care, as well as trauma management.

Podiatry

Podiatry is the medical study of the human lower limbs and feet. It’s a medical specialty that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of conditions and deformities of the feet. Treatment techniques may involve medical and surgical procedures to help treat and manage bone and joint disorders, such as arthritis.

Preventive Medicine

Preventive medicine is the field in medicine concerned with the prevention of infections and diseases. A preventive medicine specialist helps protect, promote, and manage proper health and well-being to alleviate illnesses, disabilities, and even death. They can offer preventive medicine on an individual basis or on a community level to help disease prevention, especially infectious diseases.

Psychiatry

A medicine branch that’s concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders. A psychiatrist is a medical specialist who studies mental health and often contributes to the rehabilitation and treatment of patients with substance abuse disorders. They usually assess and prescribe drugs for various disorders like panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and anxiety disorders.

Psychology

Psychology is the study of the human mind/brain, its functions, and how it affects an individual’s behavior in a specific context. It also considers the biological, social, and environmental factors that affect how we feel, think, and behave. It’s a field referred to as Hub Science because it forms the basis of most principles applied in medical and social sciences and education.

Pulmonology

Pulmonology is a field in medicine that deals with the study of the human pulmonary system, also known as the respiratory system. It involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and conditions affecting different parts of the respiratory tract, including trachea, lungs, bronchi, bronchioles, pneumocytes, and the related blood vessels and capillaries.

Radiology

Also referred to as diagnostic imaging, radiology is a medical field that focuses on diagnosing various health conditions through medical tests and examinations involving body scans and documenting images of different body parts. It comprises two areas: diagnostic and interventional radiology and uses radiation energy as in X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, and PET scans.

Rheumatology

Rheumatology is a sub-field in internal medicine and pediatrics that focuses on diagnosing and treating medical conditions affecting the joints, tissues, heritable connecting tissue disorders, and autoimmune diseases. They differ from orthopedics in that they do not perform the surgical treatment to treat musculoskeletal conditions. Instead, they aim to detect the underlying cause of a rheumatic disease and find better treatment options.

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing care is comprehensive and high-level medical care for treating and rehabilitating various illnesses/conditions or injuries. It is highly specialized care provided by certified nurses, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, who work together, to help patients with chronic medical conditions or disabilities to achieve full mental and physical function.

Sleep Medicine

Sleep medicine is a medical specialty that helps patients suffering from sleep disorders. A sleep medicine specialist is trained and certified in preventing, diagnosing, and treating various sleep disorders, such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. Sleep medicine professionals are primarily concerned about helping people experience quality sleep rather than achieving more sleeping hours.

Social Work/LCSW

A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or simply a social worker, is a clinical expert whose work involves providing emotional support, clinical or emergency treatments, mental health evaluation, and case management services to patients in various settings. They are usually concerned with patients suffering from psychological, social, and emotional distress. Moreover, they also provide support to people facing difficult familial situations.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy involves the non-invasive medical assessments of speech and communication disorders among patients of different ages, from children and adults to senior citizens. Speech therapists are medical professionals who offer speech therapy. They help patients improve speech through language intervention programs, articulation therapy, and other therapies that enhance fluency, voice, and language.

Sports Medicine

Although it’s not a medical specialty in itself, sports medicine focuses on rehabilitating injuries suffered by professional athletes and sportsmen. Sports medicine specialists are trained and certified in internal medicine, family medicine, and emergency medicine. Besides professional athletes, sport medicine experts also treat children and adults who indulge in sports or exercise for personal fitness.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the hazardous and harmful use of illicit substances, such as alcohol and psychoactive drugs. Continuous substance abuse leads to substance abuse disorder where an individual does not have control over their urge to use drugs. The most significant impact of it is the physical and health consequences that substance abuse has on the user.

Surgery

Surgery is an invasive medical field that treats and prevents various injuries, illnesses, and conditions through the removal, readjustment, repair, or addition of body organs and tissues. It is a procedure that usually involves manual incisions into the body. The primary objective of performing surgeries is to improve body functions, aesthetics and repair ruptured tissues.

Urgent Care

Urgent care involves delivering ambulatory emergency services outside a typical health facility on an unscheduled, walk-in basis. It focuses on treating patients with emergency and time-sensitive health complications and injuries that are not too serious to warrant the need for ER services. Such conditions and injuries include flu and fever, falls and accidents, cuts, and bleeding requiring stitching and respiratory issues.

Urology

The medical study of the human urinary tract; urology is a branch in medicine that deals with diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases and health conditions of the male and female urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters. In males, it also focuses on the scrotum, testes, penis, and prostate gland.

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About the author 

Fred Hopkins

Fred has been connecting medical practices with qualified medical billing and coding professionals since 2016. Helping doctors, of all kinds, streamline patient operations along the way.

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