Top Doctors Cheat Sheet

Some medical specialties are hard enough to pronounce, much less understand. Here’s a short list of the tough ones.

Bariatric Surgery
Surgery on the stomach and/or intestines to help a person with extreme obesity lose weight
More than 170,000 bariatric, or weight loss, surgeries are performed annually in the United States. Doctors stress that the surgeries aren’t a cure—but a step in the right direction to aiding in weight loss.

Endocrinology
The study of the glands and hormones of the body and their related disorders
The glands that make up the endocrine system include the thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes, adrenal, pituitary and hypothalamus. Consider your endocrine glands to be hormone factories—if they aren’t producing the right amounts of hormones, you might need an endocrinologist to get the gears working again.

Gastroenterology
The study of disorders affecting the stomach, intestines and associated organs
You might be referred to a gastroenterologist if you have acid reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive issues. There are also sub-specialties of gastroenterology, including hepatology, which focuses specifically on liver diseases.

Hematology
The study of blood and blood-producing organs
Hematology dates back to Ancient Egypt when “blood letting” instruments were used. Other significant landmarks in hematology include the identification of blood groups A, B, AB, and O, in 1901, and the ability to test for HIV in 1985. 

Hospitalist
Physicians whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients; activities include patient care, teaching, research and leadership in hospital medicine
The term “hospitalist” wasn’t used until 1996, when it was coined in the New England Journal of Medicine. After medical school, hospitalists usually have residency training in general internal medicine, general pediatrics, or family practice, but might also receive training in other disciplines.

Neonatology
The branch of pediatrics that deals with the diseases and care of newborn infantsIn 1966, St. Mary’s opened the John A. Hartford Neonatal Research Lab to study infectious diseases in children and train medical personnel involved in perinatal care. The lab provided footing for establishment of a thirteen-bed Infant Intensive Care Unit (IICU)—at the time, one of two in the state—in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin. Today, you know it as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Nephrology
The study of the kidneys, especially their functions and diseases
The nephrology department at UW Hospital and Clinics is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as twenty-fourth in the nation. Some twenty million Americans have kidney disease. That number has doubled each decade for the last two.

Otolaryngology
The medical and surgical specialty relating to diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck
Ever had your tonsils removed? An otolaryngologist was probably in charge of the procedure. Other common issues associated with otolaryngology include sinusitis, management of chronic ear or sinus infections, head and neck tumors, and sleep apnea.

Perinatology
The study of the development of fetuses and infants during the perinatal period
Yep, you can treat your baby before birth. Several advanced forms of ultrasound techniques are now available for expecting mothers and give insight into whether treatment is needed. These include 4-D ultrasounds, which allow doctors to look at the face and movements of the baby, and fetal echocardiography, which is used to evaluate a fetus’s heart anatomy and function, a key to assessing suspected heart defects.

Thoracic Surgery
The medical and surgical specialty relating to problems of the heart and lungs
These surgeons can literally help you breathe easier. Thoracic procedures can treat a range of disorders from lung cancer to hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).

Urology
The diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the urinary tract and urogenital system
Urology has seen several advances in the past few decades. Minimally invasive urology is now a common and appealing option. With laparoscopy, “large” incision surgery is replaced with “keyhole” incision surgery.

>> Top Doctors 2012

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