Best Medical Specialities
To assist you in identifying the most suitable expert for your medico-legal case, detailed descriptions of the specialities including the pathologies and the treatments are explained in the list below.
Field of medicine providing sedation, local and general anaesthesia to patients before, during and after surgery, including childbirth. In prolonged anaesthesia e.g. during surgery, the anaesthetist also monitors and maintains normal vital signs, breathing, pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature. The anaesthetist treats also acute and chronic pain and manages critical care patients in life support at the Intensive Care Unit.
Study and treatment of conditions of the heart and blood vessels, the veins and arteries, called the cardiovascular system. Conditions treated are cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, aneurysm, congenital heart defects, disorders of coronary circulation, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, disorders of heart valves (aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid), cardiomyopathy and myocardial rupture, pericardium effusion, and pericarditis. A cardiologist also carries out diagnostic tests and procedures such as electrocardiogram, heart catheterisation, angioplasty, and insertion of pacemakers.
Dermatology concerns the study, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the skin, hair, nails, oral cavity and genital membranes. It may include minor surgical procedures such as the removal of cancers and cosmetic care using laser therapy, radiotherapy and more. Skin infections, acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, warts, hair loss, lice, bruises, sunburn and ingrown hair.
Ear Nose and Throat
Speciality focusing on the diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions of the ear, nose and throat, which may include areas of the head and neck. Specialists are also called otolaryngologysts. They can manage diseases both conservatively and surgically, including tumors, injuries, hearing impairment, balance disturbance, communication problems, and vestibular problems like vertigo, they may also treat deformities of the head and neck.
Medical speciality concerned with the care and treatment of acutely ill or injured patients who need immediate medical attention. Emergency physicians work primarily in emergency departments of hospitals. They assess and treat a wide range of illnesses, potentially life or limb threatening conditions, and also heart attacks, strokes, fractures, asthma attacks, injuries resulting from car crashes, pregnancy related emergencies and overdoses. They cooperate with other specialities.
Medical speciality focusing on the structure, function and disorders of the endocrine system (the glands and organs that produce hormones). These conditions include diabetes (insulin deficiency by the pancreas), infertility (dysfunction in females: ovaries, and males: testes) thyroid (metabolic abnormalities), adrenal, and pituitary gland problems (bone growth, women’s menstrual cycle, lactation). Often an endocrinologist will treat hormone imbalance with hormonal replacement drugs.
Exercise physiologists prevent or manage acute, sub- acute or chronic disease or injury, and assist in restoring one’s optimal physical function, health or wellness. These interventions are exercise-based and include health and physical activity education, advice and support and lifestyle modification with a strong focus on achieving behavioural change.
Exercise physiologists also offer behavioural coaching, health education, exercise counselling and physical rehabilitation. They provide the prescription of tailored exercise programs, promoting leisure-time and incidental activity, and counselling to reduce sedentary behaviours. This will include an assessment to ensure the activity is safe, effective and likely to be maintained in the long term.
A branch of medicine concerned with the structure, functions, diseases and pathology of the gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach and intestines, which can extend to liver, pancreas and other internal organs. It involves the management of irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver, intestinal polyps, haemorrhoids, endoscopic procedures, pancreatic diseases, colon and other cancers, reflux oesophagitis and more.
Also named internal medicine, it provides non-surgical care for a range of diseases to adult patients normally after being hospitalised. General physicians manage difficult, serious or unusual medical problems and continue their care in consulting rooms until they have resolved or stabilised. Internists may subspecialise in specific areas such as oncology, immunology, gastroenterology, haematology, nephrology, geriatrics and more.
Primary, medical speciality as first point of contact to the community for personal health. General Practitioners manage patients of all ages with minor or chronic illnesses. They also coordinate the life-time care of patients, including the referral to other specialists and are responsible to educate patients on health maintenance, disease prevention, vaccination and psychological wellbeing.
Haematology is the study of blood and blood marrow disorders. Haematologists can diagnose anaemia, infection, haemophilia, blood-clotting disorders, and cancers such as leukaemia, lymphomas and myeloma requiring chemotherapy. A haematologist works closely with GPs and can perform bone marrow biopsies and interpret diagnoses. Haematologists are also advising in blood transfusion and organ transplant medicine.
The haematopathologist also focuses on diagnostic work for hematopoietic and lymphocyte-rich tissues including the lymph nodes, the spleen, thymus, and other lymphoid tissue. This is usually done in the lab. The tests used are: complete blood count, platelet count, haematocrit, haemoglobin concentration, differential white blood count, red blood cell indices, prothrombin time (clotting test).
Hepatology is an area of medicine that focuses on diseases and conditions of the liver.
A hepatologist is usually certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology and is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of hepatic diseases, which also include the organs around the liver: gallbladder, pancreas and the biliary tract. Conditions treated are: hepatitis infections, fatty liver disease (alcohol related or not), jaundice, cirrhosis, metabolic liver disease, liver cancer. Other conditions treated are pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, gallstones, gallbladder inflammation and cancer, bile duct stones, bile duct adenomas (non cancerous tumours), bile duct cancer. A hepatologist can perform ultrasound investigations, endoscopy, hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scans (bile production), biopsies.
Subspecialty of internal medicine that focuses on diagnosing and managing infections caused by microorganisms such as bacteria (tuberculosis), viruses (hepatitis, HIV), fungi or parasites (malaria). They also assist in disease prevention by educating patients on the transmission caused by person to person, animal to person, mother to foetus and contamination through the environment (food and water). These specialists play a major role in public health crises, disease outbreak, nosocomial infections and community immunisation.
Intensive Care Medicine
Specialises in the care of critically ill patients in intensive care unit (ICU). Also named critical care medicine, it involves the diagnosis and management of life-threatening conditions and injuries that may require life support and intensive monitoring. Hospitals may have separate units for treatment of critical illnesses, burns, spinal injuries, neurosurgery and cardiac surgery. Paediatric intensivists are trained differently. Due to the complexity of the conditions treated, these units have a higher patient-nurse ratio. In Australia there is a separate Intensive care speciality to train intensivists.
Medical Administration is administration or management utilising the medical and clinical knowledge, skill, and judgement of a registered medical practitioner. This may include administering or managing a hospital or other health services, or developing health operational policy, planning or purchasing of health services. A minimum of three years full-time training through the Royal Australian College of Medical Administration is required to specialise in this area.
Musculoskeletal Medicine involves the diagnosis and treatment of problems of the musculoskeletal system. These include injuries and diseases affecting the muscles, bones and joints of the limbs and spine. The special training encompasses sport and exercise medicine of conditions that do not require surgical treatment, and also conservative procedures such as ultrasound and injections.
Neonatology is a subspecialty of paediatrics concerning the medical care of newborn infants, in particular the ill or premature newborns. It is a hospital-based specialty, usually practised in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). A neonatologist may also provide antenatal (during pregnancy) consultation for women with risk factors, such as multiple births. A neonatologist offers the following: care/intensive care for unwell or premature newborns; co-ordination and planning for critically ill or premature newborns; neonatal nutrition; assessment of babies in hospital postnatal wards; follow-up after birth for premature babies; antenatal and bereavement counselling.
A speciality of internal medicine that deals with the physiology and diseases of the kidneys. Preservation of kidney function, monitoring of chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, infections, cancer, polycystic kidney disease, kidney failure, dialysis, autoimmune conditions (lupus), and diabetes-related kidney disease and high blood pressure are among the conditions treated by a nephrologist. This specialist may contribute to procedures such as kidney transplant and biopsies.
Branch of medicine dealing with the functions and disorders of nerves and the nervous system. A neurologist manages coordination problems, muscle weakness, seizures/epilepsy, stroke, migraines, cluster headache and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, degenerative diseases like motor neuron disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Procedures performed by a neurologist include lumbar puncture, electromyography (EMG) to test muscle control and electroencephalogram (EEG) for brain function.
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecology concerns the health of female reproductive organs, including prevention, endocrinology, birth control, fertility, sexually transmitted diseases, whereas obstetrics comprises the practice around pregnancy and childbirth with possible specialisation on maternal-foetal medicine for complex, high-risk pregnancies. Ultrasound, amniocentesis, cordocentesis (umbilical blood sampling), cervical cerclage, vaginal, Caesarean, and forceps/vacuum deliveries, are among the procedures they perform.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Diagnosis and treatment of workplace injuries and diseases. Evaluating and advising on the interaction between work and health through knowledge of worksite operations. It also encompasses assessments of fitness for work, return to work after an injury or illness and determine the potential health harm of the working environment, including preventative measures of accident or diseases.
A sub-speciality of medicine dedicated to the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. It includes preventative medicine, medical oncology (chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy and other cancer treatments), radiation therapy, surgery and palliative medicine. Oncologists may specialise into medical, surgical and radiation treatments.
Ophthalmologist and optometrists are both medical professionals concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and disorders of the eye and vision, whereby an ophthalmologist can perform surgeries whereas an optometrist is not licensed to do surgeries. An ophthalmologist performs eye exams, prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses as well as gives medications. Instead, an optician is not a medical doctor and is limited to vision treatment including prescription of eyewear.
A branch of dentistry managing irregularities of teeth and jaws, including correction of malocclusion, deformities and malposition using dental braces and other tools to move teeth and change jaw position. They also perform fillings, dental bridges, crowns, whiting, veneers, implants, cosmetic dental procedures and dentures.
Paediatrics is a medical speciality focussed on the health and medical care of neonates (birth to four weeks), children and adolescents up to 17 years of age. It includes childhood disease treatment and prevention, growth and development, congenital defects, small injuries, palliative care, and behavioural issues relative to each age. Paediatricians may subspecialise in several areas ranging from neonatology to endocrinology, cardiology surgery, oncology and allergy-immunology, to name a few. Paediatrics also involves guiding, educating, and advice parents or guardians on proper childcare.
Medical approach involving various disciplines to provide prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and chronic pain. Physician, physiatrists, anaesthetists and neurosurgeons can offer conservative treatment for pain relief and spinal cord stimulation.
Pathology is a branch of medicine divided in different subspecialities to provide diagnostic information to patients and clinicians to help make the correct diagnosis and guide patient care. Clinical pathologists direct different divisions of laboratory testing such as: Blood, Clinical chemistry and biology, Toxicology, Hematology, Immunology and serology, Microbiology. Clinical pathologists examine different body fluids and tissues, blood, urine, sputum, stool, spinal and pleural fluids, belly, joint fluids and bone marrow. Other branches of pathology include Anatomic pathology (study of tissues, organs and tumours), Cytopathology (study of cellular changes, forensic pathology, doing autopsies and legal pathology tests), Molecular pathology (study of DNA, RNA sequencing, gene and genetics).
A pharmacist is a person able to formulate, dispense, and provide clinical information on drugs or medications to health professionals and patients. A pharmacist plays a key role in providing pharmaceutical care to the public. They are experts in medicines and use their clinical expertise, together with formulation, quality control, practical knowledge, to ensure the safe supply and use of medicines by the public. Pharmacists are responsible to ensure the quality of pharmaceuticals/medicines supplied to the patients as per the government policies/regulation, and patient pharmaceutical education including counselling of the patients.
Medical speciality using imaging to diagnose and treat diseases. Imaging techniques include X-rays, ultrasound, computer tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Interventional radiology is used to apply procedures under the guidance of imaging techniques (angioplasty). Nuclear medical procedures utilise radioactive-labelled drugs administered through different routes. Radiotherapy is widely used for cancer treatment.
Rehabilitation physicians, also named physiatrists, focus on the rehabilitation of patients following an injury, disease or surgery. The conditions include physical disability of different origin, e.g. spinal cord injuries, whereby rehabilitation therapy helps patients overcome the physical limitations caused by their condition. A physiatrist may use ultrasound, electromyography, nerve conduction studies, nerve stimulators and prosthetics, among others.
Respiratory Medicine and Sleep Medicine
Also named pulmonology, this is a branch of internal medicine studying diseases and conditions of the respiratory tract, such as pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis and cancer. Major surgery of the respiratory tract is performed by cardiothoracic surgeons. The treatment of sleep disorders and sleep disordered breathing is also part of this speciality.
Speciality of medicine providing the diagnosing and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and autoimmune diseases including arthritis affecting the joints and other musculoskeletal conditions affecting also bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Rheumatologists treat many different types of conditions including osteoarthritis, gout, osteoporosis, generalised pain (fibromyalgia), and pain to specific body regions back, neck, shoulder, hip, and foot. Other conditions include psoriatic and reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, scleroderma and myositis among others.
Rheumatologists may also treat may autoimmune diseases involving the eyes, skin, internal organs and the nervous system.
Sport and Exercise Medicine
Medical speciality that addresses medical conditions and injuries of professional athletes and people participating in recreational sport. It also encompasses the role of physical activity in the treatment and prevention of illnesses. The care of this speciality includes nutrition, sport psychology and injury prevention.
Thoracic medicine, also called respiratory medicine, is a branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the respiratory system including allergic airways disease (such as asthma), respiratory infections, chronic obstructive lung diseases such as emphysema, lung cancer and sleep disorders. A thoracic physician also specialises in lung diseases associated with environmental and occupational exposures such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and silicosis.
Thoracic surgeons treat injuries, diseases and congenital abnormalities in a patient’s chest, including surgery to remove tumours, manage disorders or repair trauma to the heart, blood vessels, lungs, oesophagus and diaphragm. A thoracic surgeon may specialise in one region, such as the lungs, or in one type of surgery, such as coronary artery bypass.
Branch of medicine providing medical and surgical treatment for diseases of the urinary tract in males and females as well as diseases of male reproductive organs. They include infections, kidney stones, kidney cancer, injuries, incontinence, prostatic hyperplasia and cancer and erectile dysfunctions.
Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Cardiothoracic surgeons address health conditions and diseases of the chest area, particularly the lungs and the heart. They perform a variety of procedures: angioplasty to free stenosis of the arteries, coronary bypass surgery to replace occluded cardiac arteries with grafts, cardiomyoplasty to reinforce the damaged heart muscle with muscles taken elsewhere, heart and lung transplantation and various minimally invasive surgeries. They also treat tumors, injuries to the heart and lungs, as well as to the oesophagus and diaphragm.
A colorectal surgeon specialises in the management of disorders of the small bowel, colon, rectum and anus. This includes benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous): Colorectal cancer and polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), diverticular disease of the colon, anorectal conditions including haemorrhoids, fissures, abscesses and fistulas, pelvic floor disorders, bowel prolapse, functional bowel problems such as constipation and incontinence. The field is also known as proctology, but this term is most often employed for practices relating to the anus and rectum.
Surgical speciality encompassing the broad operative treatment of several conditions and tumors of abdominal organs, including the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, appendix and bile ducts, the thyroid gland as well as breast tissue and vascular system. Procedures also include excision of small skin lesions, burns and cysts.
Surgical and non-surgical care of injuries or diseases of the brain, spinal cord, spinal column and peripheral nerves such as congenital malformations, trauma, infections and degenerative conditions, hydrocephalus, meningitis and myelomeningocele (common in children). Other treatments address intracranial bleedings like strokes, vasospasms, aneurysms, carotid stenosis can be managed with angioplasty, stenting and embolisation; complex skull base surgery; spine surgery involving disk arthritis, spinal cord compression caused by trauma and spondylosis. Peripheral nerve surgery such as carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve transposition, and nerve entrapment syndrome. Oncological neurosurgery to pituitary tumors and general brain and spine cancers.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. They include common oral surgical problems (eg. impacted teeth, dental implants), jaw and congenital facial disproportion, facial trauma, oral cancer, salivary gland disease, temporomandibular joint disorders, and various benign pathologies (eg. cysts and tumours of the jaws).
Oral Surgery and General Dentistry
A speciality devoted to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of oral health including surgical procedures such as correction of facial deformities, injuries to the mouth and jaws, removal of wisdom teeth, root canal treatment, fillings, crowns and dental implants. Also, including oncological surgery to the neck and jaw areas.
Medical speciality providing conservative treatment and surgery of injuries, congenital defects and chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system, ageing issues, which affect bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Also performing bone fracture repair, arthroscopy, joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty), joint reconstruction, fusion surgery, correction of deformities, and spine reconstruction. Orthopaedic surgeons may prescribe drugs as well as refer patients to physiotherapy after surgery.
Surgical speciality for the reconstruction or repair of tissue defects including tissue or artificial material transplant for the treatment of injuries, trauma, burns, or for cosmetic reasons. Reattachment of limbs severed by trauma, cleft lip palate, skin cancer, burns and scarring, as well as hand injuries and birth defects of the hand are some of the procedures a plastic surgeon performs. Cosmetic surgery includes among others, breast augmentation, reconstruction and implants, face-neck lift, body contouring, liposuction, hair replacement, nose surgery (rhinoplasty), chin surgery (mentoplasty) and spider veins removal.
Speciality addressing issues and conditions of the vascular system, namely veins and arteries. A vascular surgeon performs procedures to facilitate blood flow of narrowed or blocked blood vessels, due to e.g. atherosclerotic plaques, deep vein thrombosis and malformations. Other procedures include treatment of aneurysms, venous diseases (bulges, varicose veins), renovascular hypertension, etc. Common procedures are angioplasty (unblocking a blocked vessel by inserting a wire), stenting (introduction of a cage in the area of vessel narrowing), embolectomy (removal of clots), bypass surgery (transplant of a vein or artery to overcome the blockage such as for the coronary arteries of the heart.
Drug and Alcohol Counselling
Drug and alcohol (and other prescription drugs, illicit substances, etc) counsellors may include a variety of health professionals, such as psychologists, general practitioners, consultant physicians, psychiatrists and social workers. Their role is to support positive behavioural change in people affected by addiction through providing evidence-based therapies via individual, group and family counselling interventions. Services focus on working collaboratively with clients and their families and providing recovery-oriented care.
A branch of psychology specialising in understanding the integration between brain structures and behaviour. It is based on psychological observations on behaviour and the mind using neurological assessments on brain function, cognition and emotion. A neuropsychologist can address memory issues, mood disturbances, learning difficulties and nervous system dysfunction, which can arise following stroke, traumatic injuries, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focusing on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. Psychiatrists assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems and use treatments including psychotherapy, medications, psychosocial interventions and others. Psychiatrists deal with mood and affective disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, addiction and impulse control disorders and psychotic disorders.
Psychology concerns the study of the mind and behaviour that differentiates into cognitive, forensic, social, and developmental psychology. Psychologists work with individuals, couples, and families to help them make desired changes to behaviours. They identify, assess, diagnose and treat mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. Clinical psychologists assist people to face a variety of problems ranging from short-term personal issues to severe, chronic conditions. A child psychologist may provide assessment of special learning needs or custody issues. Within court, psychologists can provide assessments for the criminal justice system, or evaluate and provide professional psychological opinion. Importantly, psychologists cannot prescribe medications.
A treatment approach for disorders of the musculoskeletal system and nervous system by applying manipulation and adjustment of the bony and soft structures to improve health and function. Treatment focuses predominantly on the spine, joints, muscles for the resolution of pain, improvement of arthritis, headache, whiplash, strains and sprains, sport injuries and movement restrictions.
Dietitians are food and nutrition specialists who understand how nutrition affects the body and use this knowledge to treat patients. Using the latest scientific information, dietitians can assist with developing a personal plan to meet their client’s needs. They assist with the management of health conditions such as diabetes, eating disorders, food allergies and intolerances and gastrointestinal diseases. Treatment methods include giving feedback and advice on diet and health whilst also setting food-related goals.
Nursing and Midwifery
Health professionals working across a varying range of specialities providing maintenance and restoration of health to people of all ages, families and communities. In Australia it is a university degree beginning with a three-year Bachelor of Nursing with the option of a post-graduate study for further specialisation. Nurses can specialise in different areas of medicine and surgery such as midwifery, cardiology, diabetes, emergency, gerontology, intensive care, mental health, surgical and many more.
An allied health profession helping patients to improve the ability to perform activities in daily living and working environments, including personal care, home skills, mobility, physical exercise, use of assistive devices, physical safety, workplace rehabilitation and guidance for relatives and caregivers. Patients may have work-related injuries, congenital disability, brain injury, amputations, chronic diseases, learning disabilities mental/degenerative neurological diseases, and behavioural problems relative to drug abuse and eating disorders.
An allied health speciality providing manual adjustments of body structures with myofascial release, manipulation of joints, muscles and bones. It is considered as a complementary alternative medicine. Patients may have osteoporosis, bone fractures, arthritis, musculoskeletal problems, low back pain, shoulder pain and more. Osteopathic treatment focuses on relieving muscle tension, increase joint mobility, blood circulation, and stimulate healing.
Allied health profession providing treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat, exercise and education with the aim to optimise movement and function. Physiotherapists can be trained in a number of other areas of rehabilitation such as mental health, intensive care, postoperative care and health in the workplace. Methods of treatment also include acupuncture (needling), ultrasound, heat and hydrotherapy.
Podiatrists are experts in the health of toes, feet and ankles. They assist in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions like deformities, bunions, infections, warts, ingrown nails, heel and arch pain, skin problems, balance issues, sprains, walking misbalance. They help gait issues by recommending exercises, the use of shoe inserts (orthoses) and rehabilitation after foot surgery. They are valuable for people with chronic diseases, which affect foot health, including diabetes and arthritis. Podiatrists also advice suitable footwear to athletes and specific professions.