Urologists are physicians that diagnose and treat diseases of the urinary tract in men and women and treat conditions involving the reproductive tract in men.
Urology is likely one of the oldest medical specialties and likely dates to the time of ancient Egyptians and Greeks. There is evidence that suggests urology existed over 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt when surgical instruments used to treat urethral stricture were found at burial sites of the pharaohs. In ancient Greece, doctors who could be considered early urologists frequently examined urine’s colour, odour, and texture, looking for bubbles, blood, and other signs of disease.
Today, urology has evolved substantially from its ancient origins and is a rapidly developing medical specialty focusing on the health of the urinary system and male genital system.
These videos are a look at who urologists are, what we do, how we do it and why you should consider becoming a urologist as a rewarding career. This is made with input from many different urologists from across Canada.
Urologists are surgeons. Many of the diseases we treat have surgical options. For example, we frequently surgically remove cancers of the genitourinary system, such as prostate, kidney, testes, and bladder, and also commonly surgically repair blockages of the urinary tract, such as in the case of kidney stones, urethral strictures, or an enlarged prostate.
Although urology is a surgical specialty, urologists also have knowledge of internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, and other specialties because of the wide variety of clinical problems we encounter. Many urologic conditions have medical treatments, including erectile dysfunction, urinary tract infections, bladder dysfunction, and prostate enlargement, to name a few.
The urinary tract is the organ system that creates, stores, and removes urine from the body. Urologists treat all parts of the urinary system, including the:
Urologists also treat all parts of the male reproductive system, including the:
Urologists treat a wide variety of conditions that affect the urinary system of both genders, as well as the male reproductive system.
Urology patients run the entire spectrum, with patients of all ages, gender, and socioeconomic status affected by urologic conditions. It is an inclusive range of patients.
In men, urologists commonly treat:
In women, urologists often treat:
In children, urologists commonly treat congenital diseases that cause urinary blockage, infection, or difficulties urinating.
To accurately diagnose patients with urologic disease, urologists perform a variety of tests, including:
Urologists are trained to perform different types of surgery. This often includes:
After completion of medical school, to become a urologist in Canada requires a minimum of 5 years of Royal College-approved training. This period must include 2 years of core training in surgery and 3 years of approved residency training in urology, one of which is as a senior resident.
Senior residency is defined as a year in which the resident is regularly entrusted with the responsibility for preoperative, operative, and postoperative care, including the most difficult problems in urology.
The senior resident must be in charge of a urological unit with no other resident intervening between the senior resident and the attending staff urologist.
At the end of their training, urologists must pass the specialty certification exam for urologists. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada certifies residents after successful completion of the exam.
Some urologists decide to do a year or two of additional fellowship subspecialty training. During this time, you gain skills in a subspecialty area.
After residency training, urologists may pursue 1-2 years of subspecialty training known as a fellowship. Some of the subspecialties in urology are:
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