is the branch of Surgery
that focuses on the urinary tracts
of males and females, and on the reproductive system of males. Medical professionals specializing in the field of urology are called urologists
and are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with urological disorders; they may hold one of the following medical degrees
, either (MD, MBBS, MBChB, etc) or (DO) degree. The organs covered by urology include the kidneys
, urinary bladder
, and the male reproductive organs (testes
, vas deferens
, seminal vesicles
In men, the urinary system overlaps with the reproductive system, and in women the urinary tract opens into the vulva. In both sexes, the urinary and reproductive tracts are close together, and disorders of one often affect the other. Urology combines management of medical (i.e., non-surgical) problems such as urinary infections, and surgical problems such as the correction of congenital abnormalities and the surgical management of cancers. Such abnormalities within the genital region are called genitourinary disorders.
Urology is closely related to, and in some cases overlaps with, the medical fields of nephrology, andrology, gynecology, proctology and oncology.
Branches of urology
As a discipline that involves the study of many organs and physiological systems, urology can be broken down into subfields. Many urologists, particularly those involved in research, choose an informal specialization in a particular field of urology.
- Neurourology concerns nervous system control of the genitourinary system, and of conditions causing abnormal urination. Neurological diseases and disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury can disrupt the lower urinary tract and result in conditions such as urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, urinary retention, and detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia. Less marked neurological abnormalities can cause urological disorders as well -- for example, abnormalities of the sensory nervous system are thought by many researchers to play a role in disorders of painful or frequent urination (e.g. interstitial cystitis). Urodynamic studies play an important diagnostic role in neurourology; urologists often use diagnostic techniques such as flow cystometry or ambulatory urodynamic profiles to determine the best method of treatment for the patient. Medical therapy for nervous system disorders includes drugs that target the nervous system and neuromodulation.
- Pediatric urology concerns urologic disorders in children. Such disorders include enuresis, hypospadias, vesicoureteral reflux, and hydronephrosis.
- Urologic oncology concerns malignant genitourinary diseases such as prostate cancer, bladder cancer, testicular cancer and penile cancer.
Other subfields of urology include stone disease, sexual dysfunction, trauma and reconstruction, and male infertility.