Definition of Medical Specialties

Recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties


Definition of Medical Specialties

This is a list of the Specialties and Subspecialties recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, along with definitions of those Specialties and Subspecialties. Physicians listing Specialties and Subspecialties other than what are listed here may be practicing in an area of their special expertise, the procedures they perform on a regular basis, or the diseases/conditions they treat.

Addiction Psychiatry –Focuses on the evaluation and treatment of individuals with alcohol, drug or other substance-related disorders and of individuals with the dual diagnosis of substance-related and other psychiatric disorders.

Adolescent Medicine – A physician specializing in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine or Pediatrics who is trained in the unique physical, psychological and social characteristics of adolescents and their health care problems and needs.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease – Evaluates and delivers high quality, life-long care for a wide range of adult patients with congenital heart disease.

Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology – Evaluates and manages patients with heart failure, particularly those with advanced heart failure, those with devices, including ventricular assist devices, and those who have undergone or are awaiting transplantation.

Aerospace Medicine – Concerned with the maintenance of health, safety and performance of those in aviation and space travel.

Allergy & Immunology – Diagnoses and manages disorders involving immune system conditions; adverse reactions to drugs, foods and insect stings; immune deficiency diseases and problems related to autoimmune disease, organ transplantation or malignancies of the immune system.

Anesthesiology – Provides anesthesia for patients undergoing surgical, obstetric, diagnostic or therapeutic procedures while monitoring the patient’s condition and supporting vital organ functions.

Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine – Responsible for the maintenance of an adequate blood supply, blood donor and patient-recipient safety, and appropriate blood utilization.

Brain Injury Medicine – A physician specializing in Psychiatry & Neurology or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation who focuses on the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with acquired brain injury.

Cardiovascular Disease – Specializes in diseases of the heart and blood vessels and manages complex cardiac conditions, such as heart attacks and life-threatening, abnormal heart rhythms.

Child Abuse Pediatrics – Serves as a resource to children, families and communities by accurately diagnosing abuse.

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Focuses on the evaluation and treatment of developmental, behavioral, emotional and mental disorders of childhood and adolescence.

Clinical Biochemical Genetics – Performs and interprets a wide range of specialized, laboratory biochemical analyses relevant to the diagnosis and management of inherited metabolic disorders.

Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology – Involves intricate technical procedures to evaluate heart rhythms and determine appropriate treatment.

Clinical Cytogenetics – Performs and interprets laboratory diagnostic tests involving the relationship between the structure and number of chromosomes associated with inherited and acquired disorders, including cancer.

Clinical Genetics – Provides comprehensive diagnostic, treatment, management and counseling services for individuals and families at risk for clinical disorders with a genetic basis.

Clinical Informatics – A physician specializing in Pathology or Preventive Medicine who collaborates with other health care and information technology professionals to analyze, design, implement and evaluate information and communication systems that enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve patient care and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.

Clinical & Laboratory Dermatological Immunology – A Dermatologist who utilizes various specialized laboratory procedures to diagnose disorders characterized by defective responses of the body's immune system.

Clinical Molecular Genetics – Performs and interprets molecular analyses relevant to the diagnosis and management of human genetic diseases and is a consultant regarding laboratory diagnosis of a broad range of inherited diseases.

Clinical Neurophysiology – Focuses on the evaluation and treatment of central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system disorders using a combination of clinical evaluation and electrophysiologic testing.

Colon & Rectal Surgery – Diagnoses and treats various diseases of the small intestine, colon, rectum, anal canal and perianal area including the organs and tissues related with primary intestinal diseases.

Complex General Surgical Oncology – Expertise in the diagnosis, multidisciplinary treatment and rehabilitation of patients with rare, unusual or complex cancers.

Congenital Cardiac Surgery – Expertise in procedures that are performed to repair the many types of heart defects that may be present at birth and can occasionally go undiagnosed into adulthood.

Critical Care Medicine – A physician specializing in Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine or Obstetrics & Gynecology who diagnoses and treats patients with critical illnesses or injuries, particularly trauma victims and patients with multiple organ dysfunction who require care over a period of hours, days or weeks.

Cytopathology – Expertise in the diagnosis of cells from all systems and areas of the body and in consultation to all medical specialists.

Dermatology – Diagnoses and treats all aspects of health and diseased skin in adults and children including conditions such as skin cancer, melanomas, moles, dermatitis, acne, hair loss, scars, sexually transmitted diseases and aging.

Dermatopathology – A physician specializing in Dermatology or Pathology who diagnoses and monitors diseases of the skin, including infectious, immunologic, degenerative and neoplastic diseases.

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics – Skills, training and experience to foster understanding and promotion of optimal development of children and families through research, education, clinical care and advocacy efforts.

Diagnostic Medical Physics – Uses x-rays, gamma rays from sealed sources, ultrasound and magnetic resonance in diagnostic procedures; maintains the equipment associated with their production and use; and applies standards for the safe use of radiation.

Diagnostic Radiology – Uses x-rays, radionuclides, ultrasound and electromagnetic radiation to diagnose and treat disease.

Emergency Medical Services – Knowledge and skills for the delivery of medical care of the acutely ill or injured patient in the pre-hospital setting.

Emergency Medicine – Focuses on the immediate decision making and action necessary to prevent death or any further disability both in the pre-hospital setting by directing emergency medical technicians and in the emergency department.

Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism – Concentrates on disorders of the internal (endocrine) glands such as the thyroid and adrenal glands; also deals with disorders such as diabetes, metabolic and nutritional disorders, obesity, pituitary diseases, and menstrual and sexual problems.

Epilepsy – Focuses on the evaluation and treatment of adults and children with recurrent seizure activity and seizure disorders.

Family Medicine – Delivers a wide range of acute, chronic and preventive medical care services. In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, they also provide preventive care, including routine checkups, health risk assessments, immunization and screening tests, and personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery – A physician specializing in Obstetrics & Gynecology or Urology who provides consultation and comprehensive management of women with complex benign pelvic conditions, lower urinary tract disorders and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Forensic Psychiatry – Focuses on the interrelationships between psychiatry and civil, criminal and administrative law.

Gastroenterology – Specializes in diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive organs including the stomach, bowels, liver and gallbladder.

Geriatric Medicine – A physician specializing in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine with special knowledge of the aging process and special skills in the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitative aspects of illness in the elderly.

Geriatric Psychiatry – Focuses on the evaluation and treatment of mental and emotional disorders in the elderly.

Gynecologic Oncology – Provides consultation and comprehensive management, including diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, to patients with gynecologic cancer and resulting complications.

Hematology – Specializes in diseases of the blood, spleen and lymph; also treats conditions such as anemia, clotting disorders, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, leukemia and lymphoma.

Hospice & Palliative Medicine – A physician specializing in Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Psychiatry & Neurology, Radiology or Surgery who provides care to prevent and relieve the suffering experienced by patients with life-limiting illnesses.

Infectious Disease – Deals with infectious diseases of all types and in all organ systems; often diagnose and treat AIDS patients, and may have expertise in preventive medicine and travel medicine.

Internal Medicine – Provides long-term, comprehensive care in the office and in the hospital, managing both common and complex illnesses of adolescents, adults and the elderly.

Interventional Cardiology – Uses specialized imaging and other diagnostic techniques to evaluate blood flow and pressure in the coronary arteries and chambers of the heart, and uses technical procedures and medications to treat abnormalities that impair the function of the cardiovascular system.

Interventional Radiology & Diagnostic Radiology – Competence in imaging, image-guided minimally invasive procedures and peri-procedural patient care to diagnose and treat benign and malignant conditions of the thorax (excluding the heart), abdomen, pelvis and extremities.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine – Focuses on patients with complications of pregnancy and their effect on both the mother and the fetus.

Medical Biochemical Genetics – Demonstrates competence in the diagnosis, medical treatment and management of individuals with inherited metabolic conditions presenting clinically from infancy through adulthood, including via newborn screening.

Medical Genetics – Specializes in medicine that involves the interaction between genes and health and is trained to evaluate, diagnose, manage, treat and counsel individuals of all ages with hereditary disorders.

Medical Oncology – Specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer and other benign and malignant tumors.

Medical Toxicology – A physician specializing in Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics or Preventive Medicine with expertise in the prevention, evaluation, treatment and monitoring of injury and illness from exposures to drugs and chemicals, as well as biological and radiological agents.

Molecular Genetic Pathology – A physician specializing in Medical Genetics or Pathology who is an expert in the principles, theory and technologies of molecular biology and molecular genetics.

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine – Acts as the principal care provider for sick newborn infants.

Nephrology – Treats disorders of the kidney, high blood pressure, fluid and mineral balance, and dialysis of body wastes when the kidneys do not function.

Neurodevelopmental Disabilities – A physician specializing in Pediatrics or Psychiatry & Neurology who focuses on the evaluation and treatment of chronic conditions that affect the developing and mature nervous system such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and chronic behavioral syndromes or neurologic conditions.

Neurological Surgery – Provides care for adult and pediatric patients in the treatment of pain or pathological processes that may modify the function or activity of the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, the supporting structures of these systems and their vascular supply.

Neurology – Specializes in the evaluation and treatment of all types of disease or impaired function of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles and autonomic nervous system, as well as the blood vessels that relate to these structures.

Neurology with Special Qualifications in Child Neurology – Diagnoses and treats neurologic disorders in infants, children and adolescents; special competence in genetic and metabolic problems, malformation, retardation and other neurodevelopmental problems of childhood.

Neuromuscular Medicine – A physician specializing in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation or Psychiatry & Neurology who focuses on the evaluation and treatment of disorders of nerve, muscle or neuromuscular junction.

Neuropathology – Expert in the diagnosis of diseases of the nervous system and skeletal muscles and functions as a consultant primarily to neurologists and neurosurgeons.

Neuroradiology – Diagnoses and treats disorders of the brain, sinuses, spine, spinal cord, neck and the central nervous system.

Neurotology – Expertise in the management of diseases of the inner ear, temporal bone, and skull base, including tumors and other conditions.

Nuclear Medical Physics – Uses radionuclides for diagnosing and treating conditions, maintains the equipment associated with their production, and applies standards for the safe use of radiation.

Nuclear Medicine – Uses molecular tracers for diagnosis and treatment. The most common diagnostic applications of Nuclear Medicine include the early detection of coronary artery disease, cancer diagnosis and staging and evaluation of the effect of cancer treatment.

Nuclear Radiology – Uses the administration of trace amounts of radioactive substances to provide images and information for making a diagnosis.

Obstetrics & Gynecology – Focuses on the health of women before, during and after childbearing years, diagnosing and treating conditions of the reproductive system and associated disorders.

Occupational Medicine – Deals with the prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries occurring at work or in specific occupations.

Ophthalmology – Focuses on the medical and surgical care of the eyes.

Orthopedic Surgery – Educated in the preservation, investigation and restoration of the form and function of the extremities, spine and associated structures by medical, surgical and physical means.

Orthopaedic Sports Medicine – Expertise in the surgical and medical care for all structures of the musculoskeletal system directly affected by participation in a sporting activity.

Otolaryngology – Provides medical and/or surgical therapy for the prevention of diseases, allergies, neoplasms, deformities, disorders and/or injuries of the ears, nose, throat, respiratory and upper alimentary systems, face, jaws and the other head and neck systems.

Pain Medicine – A physician specializing in Anesthesiology, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation or Psychiatry & Neurology who provides care for patients with acute, chronic and/or cancer pain in both inpatient and outpatient settings while coordinating patient care needs with other specialists.

Pathology – Deals with the causes and nature of disease and contributes to diagnosis, prognosis and treatment through knowledge gained by the laboratory application of biologic, chemical and physical sciences.

Pathology, Anatomic – Relates to the processing, examination and diagnosis of surgical specimens.

Pathology, Chemical – Expertise in the biochemistry of the human body as it applies to the understanding of the cause and progress of disease.

Pathology, Clinical – Diagnoses diseases through laboratory analysis of bodily fluids or tissues.

Pathology, Forensic – Expert in investigating and evaluating cases of sudden, unexpected, suspicious and violent death as well as other specific classes of death defined by law.

Pathology, Hematology – Expert in diseases that affect blood cells, blood clotting mechanisms, bone marrow and lymph nodes.

Pathology/Medical Microbiology – Expert in the isolation and identification of microbial agents that cause infectious disease.

Pediatrics – Concerned with the physical, emotional and social health of children from birth to young adulthood.

Pediatric Anesthesiology – Provides anesthesia for neonates, infants, children and adolescents undergoing surgical, diagnostic or therapeutic procedures as well as appropriate pre- and post-operative care, advanced life support and acute pain management.

Pediatric Cardiology – Provides comprehensive care to patients with cardiovascular problems.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine – Expert in advanced life support for children from the term or near-term neonate to the adolescent.

Pediatric Dermatology – Treats specific skin disease categories with emphasis on those diseases which predominate in infants, children and adolescents.

Pediatric Emergency Medicine – Special qualifications to manage emergency treatments in acutely ill or injured infants and children.

Pediatric Endocrinology – Provides care to infants, children and adolescents who have diseases that result from an abnormality in the endocrine glands.

Pediatric Gastroenterology – Specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive systems of infants, children and adolescents.

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology – Trained in the combination of pediatrics, hematology and oncology to recognize and manage pediatric blood disorders and cancerous diseases.

Pediatric Infectious Disease – Cares for children through the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.

Pediatric Nephrology – Deals with the normal and abnormal development and maturation of the kidney and urinary tract.

Pediatric Otolaryngology – Expertise in the management of infants and children with disorders that include congenital and acquired conditions involving the aerodigestive tract, nose and paranasal sinuses, the ear and other areas of the head and neck and in the diagnosis, treatment and management of childhood disorders of voice, speech, language and hearing.

Pediatric Pathology – Expert in the laboratory diagnosis of diseases that occur during fetal growth, infancy and child development.

Pediatric Pulmonology – Dedicated to the prevention and treatment of all respiratory diseases affecting infants, children and young adults.

Pediatric Radiology – Uses imaging and interventional procedures related to the diagnosis, care and management of congenital abnormalities and diseases particular to infants and children.

Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine - Concerned with diagnosis and management of congenital and childhood-onset impairments and disability.

Pediatric Rheumatology – Treats diseases of joints, muscle, bones and tendons.

Pediatric Surgery – Specialized training in the diagnosis and care of premature and newborn infants, children and adolescents.

Pediatric Transplant Hepatology – Possesses the knowledge, skill and expertise to care for patients prior to and following hepatic transplantations.

Pediatric Urology – Trained to diagnose, manage, treat and prevent urologic disorders in children.

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation – Concerned with evaluating and treating patients with short or long-term physical and/or cognitive impairments and disability.

Plastic Surgery – Deals with the repair, reconstruction or replacement of physical defects of form or function involving the skin, musculoskeletal system, craniomaxillofacial structures, hand, extremities, breast and trunk and external genitalia or cosmetic enhancement of these areas of the body.

Plastic Surgery within the Head & Neck – Expertise in plastic and reconstructive procedures within the head, face, neck and associated structures.

Preventive Medicine – Focuses on the health of individuals and defined populations in order to protect, promote and maintain health and well-being.

Psychiatry & Neurology – Specializes in the evaluation and treatment of mental, addictive and emotional disorders such as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders and adjustment disorders.

Psychosomatic Medicine – Specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders and symptoms in complex medically ill patients.

Public Health & General Preventive Medicine – Focuses on promoting health, preventing disease, and managing the health of communities and defined populations.

Pulmonary Disease – Treats diseases of the lungs and airways.

Radiation Oncology – Deals with the study and management of disease, especially malignant tumors, and radiological treatments of abnormal tissue through the use of x-rays or radionuclides.

Radiology – Uses imaging methodologies to diagnose and manage patients and provide therapeutic options.

Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility – Concentrates on hormonal functioning as it pertains to reproduction as well as the issue of infertility.

Rheumatology – Treats diseases of the joints, muscle, bones and tendons.

Sleep Medicine – A physician specializing in Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Neurology or Otolaryngology with expertise in the diagnosis and management of clinical conditions that occur during sleep, that disturb sleep, or that are affected by disturbances in the wake-sleep cycle.

Spinal Cord Injury Medicine – Concerned with the evaluation and management of patients with spinal cord injuries caused by trauma or from medical conditions.

Sports Medicine – A physician specializing in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation who specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries related to participating in sports and/or exercise.

Surgery – Expertise in the diagnosis and care of patients with diseases and disorders affecting the abdomen, digestive tract, endocrine system, breast, skin and blood vessels.

Surgery of the Hand – A physician specializing in Surgery or Orthopaedic Surgery with expertise in the surgical, medical and rehabilitative care of patients with diseases, injuries and disorders affecting the hand, wrist and forearm.

Surgical Critical Care – Expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and support of critically ill and injured patients, particularly trauma victims and patients with multiple organ dysfunction.

Therapeutic Medical Physics – Uses x-rays, gamma rays, electron and other charged particle beams, neutrons and radiations from sealed radionuclide sources in the treatment of conditions; maintains the equipment associated with their production and use; and applies standards for the safe use of radiation.

Thoracic Surgery, Thoracic & Cardiac Surgery – Treats diseased or injured organs in the chest.

Transplant Hepatology – Cares for patients prior to and following hepatic transplantation that spans all phases of liver transplantation.

Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine – A physician specializing in Emergency Medicine or Preventive Medicine who treats decompression illness and diving accident cases and uses hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat such conditions as carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, non-healing wounds, tissue damage from radiation and burns and bone infections.

Urology – Focuses on diagnosing and treating disorders of the urinary tracts of males and females, and on the reproductive system of males.

Vascular & Interventional Radiology – Diagnoses and treats diseases with the use of various radiologic imaging technologies.

Vascular Neurology – Focuses on the evaluation and treatment of vascular events affecting the brain or spinal cord.

Vascular Surgery – Expertise in the diagnosis and management of patients with disorders of the arterial, venous and lymphatic systems, excluding vessels of the brain and heart.