Urology is an area of medicine that focuses on conditions affecting the female and male urinary tract: the kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, ureters, and urethra. In men, the urinary tract and reproductive systems are intertwined, so urologists are also trained in surgical and medical issues related to male reproductive organs (testicles, epididymis, seminal vesicles, prostate, penis, and vas deferens). Urologists are also consulted when cancer occurs in or around the urinary tract (e.g. prostate, testicular, kidney, or bladder cancer).
Getting the very best urological care starts with finding the right doctor for you. Typically, people seek urologists on the advice of their primary physician or another doctor. Here are some tips for finding a qualified urologist near you:
Finding a Good Urologist
- Insurance carrier: If you have health insurance, consult your carrier for a list of urologists who participate in your health plan.
- Primary-care physician: Primary care doctors frequently refer patients to specialists—including those in the field of urology—and can often give a solid recommendation based on the patient's needs and medical goals.
- Local hospital: Urologists often split their time between hospitals and clinics; consult a specific hospital's administrator to obtain a list of urologists associated with that hospital.
- Friends, family, and co-workers: If you know anyone who has had a urologic procedure, or was treated by a urologist, ask about their experience.
- Online: Do a search for a urologist online to find patient reviews, both good and bad.
Checking Urologist Credentials
Once you have selected a few urologists you feel are good candidates, you can dig deeper to find out more. In particular, consult medical directories, such as the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), to verify that the urologist is board-certified in his specialty and to see which services and procedures he or she is authorized to provide. Additionally, contact state or local medical societies for general information about the urologist, including the number of years he or she has been practicing and the number of procedures performed. In general, the surgeons who are highly skilled in their area of expertise receive the most patients.
Other Practical Considerations
Though credentials and experience are critical, other practical issues should be taken into account. Specifically, you may want to consider:
- Location and convenience: If a urologist is not easily accessible or available, it can be to maintain quality care.
- Language: Effective and clear communication is important for optimal health care and helps to reduce unintentional medical errors. This can be further aided if by looking for a urologist who speaks the language you are most comfortable with.
- Office manners: How you are treated on the phone, the cleanliness of the office, attitudes of the staff, and other less-tangible measurements should also influence your decision.
Find a Board-Certified Urologist
Urologists.org has an extensive directory of urologists from all over the United States. To locate one, search our directory.