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Subspecialty (or subspeciality in British English) is a specific field of focus within a broader specialty area in the domain of medicine and other professions. Those who practice within these narrower fields are termed as subspecialists.

Definition[edit | edit source]

A subspecialty is a narrowed or concentrated area within a larger specialty. For instance, forensic pathology is a subspecialty that falls under the broader category of anatomical pathology.

Significance in Medicine[edit | edit source]

Subspecialization is notably prevalent in areas of medicine such as internal medicine, cardiology, and neurology. The rise in subspecialization can be attributed to:

  • Complexity of Medicine: As medicine has evolved and become more intricate, there's been a need for physicians to dive deeper into particular areas to offer the best care.
  • Volume-Outcome Relationship: Research has shown that a physician's case volume is inversely related to their complication rate. This means as a physician handles more cases within a specific area, their complication rates tend to decrease. Therefore, having a narrower focus allows a physician to gain more experience in a specific field, potentially improving patient outcomes.

Subspecialist[edit | edit source]

A subspecialist is a professional who has chosen to concentrate on a specific area within their primary specialty. Their expertise often involves additional training, certification, and a deeper knowledge base in that narrow field.

List of Subspecialties[edit | edit source]

Below is a non-exhaustive list of subspecialties within some key medical specialties:

Internal Medicine[edit | edit source]

  • Cardiology: Focuses on diseases and conditions of the heart.
  • Endocrinology: Concerned with the body's endocrine glands and the hormones they release.
  • Gastroenterology: Studies the digestive system and its disorders.
  • Hematology: Focuses on blood and its disorders.
  • Nephrology: Concerned with kidney functions and diseases.
  • Pulmonology: Studies respiratory diseases.

Surgery[edit | edit source]

Obstetrics and Gynecology[edit | edit source]

Pediatrics[edit | edit source]

Psychiatry[edit | edit source]

  • Addiction psychiatry: Focuses on the evaluation and treatment of individuals with alcohol, drug, or other substance-related disorders.
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry: Addresses mental disorders in children and adolescents.
  • Geriatric psychiatry: Focuses on the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders in the elderly.

Others[edit | edit source]

There are many other specialties with their own subspecialties, such as Dermatology, Radiology, Emergency Medicine, and more. Each specialty can have multiple subspecialties, depending on the breadth of the field.

See also[edit | edit source]

Medicine - Specialties and subspecialties

Cardiac surgery - Cardiothoracic surgery - Colorectal surgery - Ophthalmology - General surgery - Neurosurgery - Oral and maxillofacial surgery - Orthopedic surgery - Hand surgery - Otolaryngology - ENT - Pediatric surgery - Plastic surgery - Reproductive surgery - Surgical oncology - Transplant surgery - Trauma surgery - Urology - Andrology - Vascular surgery

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD