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Clinical disciplines

  • Anesthesiology (AE), Anaesthesia (BE), is the clinical discipline concerned with providing anesthesia. Pain medicine is often practiced by specialised anesthesiologists.
  • Dermatology is concerned with the skin and its diseases.
  • Emergency medicine is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of acute or life-threatening conditions, including trauma, surgical, medical, pediatric, and psychiatric emergencies.
  • General practice or family medicine or primary care is, in many countries, the first port-of-call for patients with non-emergency medical problems. Family doctors are usually able to treat over 90% of all complaints without referring to specialists.
  • Geriatrics is concerned with medical care of the elderly.
  • Hospital medicine is the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Doctors whose primary professional focus is hospital medicine are called hospitalist.
  • Intensive care medicine is concerned with the therapy of patients with serious and life-threatening disease or injury. Intensive care medicine employs invasive diagnostic techniques and (temporary) replacement of organ functions by technical means.
  • Internal medicine is concerned with diseases of inner organs and systemic dieseases of adults, i.e. such that affect the body as a whole. There are several subdisciplines of internal medicine:
    • Cardiology is concerned with the heart and cardiovascular system and their diseases.
    • Clinical pharmacology is concerned with how systems of therapeutics interact with patients.
    • Gastroenterology is concerned with the organs of digestion.
    • Endocrinology is concerned with the endocrine system, i.e. endocrine glands and hormones.
    • Hematology (or haematology) is concerned with the blood and its diseases.
    • Infectious diseases is concerned with the study, diagnosis and treatment of diseases caused by biological agents.
    • Nephrology is concerned with diseases of the kidneys.
    • Oncology is devoted to the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other malignant diseases.
    • Pulmonology (or chest medicine, respiratory medicine or lung medicine) is concerned with diseases of the lungs and the respiratory system.
    • Rheumatology is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory diseases of the joints and other organ systems.
  • Neurology is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system diseases.
  • Obstetrics and gynecology are concerned respectively with childbirth and the female reproductive and associated organs. Reproductive medicine and fertility medicine is generally practiced by gynecological specialists.
  • Palliative care is a relatively modern branch of clinical medicine that deals with pain and symptom relief and emotional support in patients with terminal disease (cancer, heart failure).
  • Pediatrics (or paediatrics) is devoted to the care of children, and adolescents. Like internal medicine, there are many pediatric supspecialities for specific age ranges, organ systems, disease classes and sites of care delivery. Most subspecialities of adult medicine have a pediatric equivalent such as pediatric cardiology, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric hematology, and pediatric oncology.
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation (or physiatry) is concerned with functional improvement after injury, illness, or congenital abnormality.
  • Preventive medicine
    • Community health care or public health
    • Occupational medicine
  • Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that studies and treats mental disorders. Related non-medical fields are psychotherapy and clinical psychology. There are several subdisciplines of Psychiatry:
    • Child & adolescent psychiatry focuses on the care of children and adolescents with mental/emotional/learning problems (i.e., ADHD, Autism, family conflicts).
    • Geriatric psychiatry focuses on the care of elderly people with mental illnesses (i.e., dementias, post stroke cognitive changes, depression).
    • Addiction psychiatry focuses on substance abuse and its treatment.
    • Forensic psychiatry focuses on the interface of psychiatry and the Law.
  • Radiation therapy is concerned with the therapeutic use of ionizing radiation and high energy elementary particle beams in patient treatment.
  • Surgical specialties - there are many medical disciplines that employ operative treatment. Some of these are highly specialized and are often not considered subdisciplines of surgery, although their naming might suggest so.
    • General surgery is the specialty of surgery of the skin, locomotor system, and abdominal organs. In the past, it was deemed the pre-requisite training prior to progression to other sub-specialty training, but lately has evolved into its own sub-specialty.
    • Cardiovascular surgery is the surgical specialty that is concerned with the heart and major blood vessels of the chest.
    • Neurosurgery is concerned with the operative treatment of diseases of the nervous system.
    • Oromaxillofacial surgery (technically a subspeciality of dentistry)
    • Ophthalmology deals with the diseases of the eye and their treatment.
    • Orthopedic surgery, surgery of the locomotor system, is generally practiced together with trauma surgery and/or traumatology.
    • Otolaryngology (or otorhinolaryngology or ENT/ear-nose-throat) is concerned with treatment of ear, nose and throat disorders.
    • Pediatric surgery
    • Plastic surgery includes aesthetic surgery (operations that are done for other than medical purposes) as well as reconstructive surgery (operations to restore function and/or appearance after traumatic or operative mutilation).
    • Surgical Oncology is concerned with ablative and palliative surgical approaches to cancer treatment
    • Urology focuses on the urinary tracts of males and females, and on the male reproductive system. It is often practiced together with andrology ("men's health").
    • Vascular surgery is surgery of the blood vessels, usually outside of the chest.


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