“Urology” (uro—urinary tract; logos—study of) is the branch of medicine that diagnoses and treats diseases of the urinary tract in males and females and the reproductive tract in males. The urinary organs under the “domain” of urology include the kidneys, the ureters (tubes connecting kidneys to the urinary bladder), the urinary bladder, and the urethra (channel that conducts urine from the bladder out). These body parts are responsible for the production, storage and release of urine. The male reproductive organs that a urologist cares for are the testes, epididymis (structures above and behind the testicle where sperm mature and are stored), vas deferens (sperm duct), seminal vesicles (structures that produce the bulk of semen), prostate gland and the scrotum and penis. These body parts are responsible for the production, storage, and release of reproductive fluids. The reproductive and urinary tracts are closely connected, and disorders of one oftentimes affect the other…thus urologists are referred to as “genitourinary” specialists.
Urology is a balanced specialty – urologists treat men and women young and old, from pediatric to geriatric. Whereas most physicians are either medical doctors or surgeons, a urologist is both, with time divided between a busy office practice and the operating room. Although most urologists are men, more and more women are entering the urological workforce.
It takes extensive training to become a urologist. My pathway to urology was 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 2 years of general surgery residency, 4 years of urology residency and 1 year of specialty fellowship training in pelvic medicine and reconstructive urology. I started practicing at age 33.
Board certification is the equivalent of a lawyer passing the bar exam. There are three board certifications in urology: general urology, pediatric urology, and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Thereafter, one must maintain board certification by participating in continuing medical education and pass a recertification exam every ten years. Every urologist at New Jersey Urology is either board-certified or board-eligible (the younger urologists who have not yet sat for the board exam). Some, like myself, are double board-certified.
A Comprehensive Team Approach
Although urology is a unique and niche specialty, there is some overlap with other medical and surgical disciplines, including nephrology (specialists in medical diseases of the kidney); oncology (medical cancer specialist); radiation oncologist (radiation cancer specialists); radiology (imaging specialists); gynecology (female specialists); endocrinology (hormone specialists); and infectious disease (infection specialists).