What is the difference between a urologist and a nephrologist? No, it’s not a setup for a joke: many are unsure about the difference between these two medical specialties. The confusion probably stems from the fact that both urologists and nephrologists deal with the kidneys, and the fields of urology and nephrology often overlap.
A urologist specializes in treating all aspects of the urinary system. The urinary system includes ureters, urethra, bladder and adrenal glands, plus the prostate and testicles in men. Urologists perform surgery on the urinary tract and kidneys, and deal with urology conditions such as kidney stones, kidney blockages, kidney, bladder and prostate cancer, incontinence, low testosterone, erectile dysfunction etc. The medical field of urology is vast, and it overlaps not only with nephrology, but also with gynaecology, andrology, pediatric surgery, oncology, gastroenterology, and endocrinology.
To become both a urologist or a nephrologist, one must complete undergraduate education and medical school, after which a future urologist completes an internship and residence raining in urology, passes a licensing examination and gets board-certified, while a nephrologist has a residence training in internal medicine, before completing a nephrology fellowship program. He can also become board-certified in nephrology.
Urologists and nephrologists both work in hospitals and private practice. They may further specialize, for example in treating specific age groups: there are pediatric nephrologists as well as pediatric urologists. There are urologists who specialize in the male reproductive system, neurological disorders, reconstructive urologists, urological oncologists, laparoscopists, endourologists, female and pediatric urologists.
A nephrologist is a kidney specialist who studies chronic kidney disease, manages dialysis centers and programs, treats end stage renal disease, urinary tract infections, regulates uric acid counts as related to gout, electrolytes, and deals with diseases that can lead to kidney problems, like diabetes and high blood pressure. He recommends patients for kidney transplants. A nephrologist delivers nonsurgical treatments. Some of his patients may require surgery – which is performed by a urologist. A nephrologist is, however, responsible for the care of that patient before and after the surgery.
Since the roles of a urologist and a nephrologist tend to overlap, urologists and nephrologists often work together to diagnose and treat patients. The cases when the treatment of a specific condition has both medical and surgical requirements are not rare: a patient may need a urologist, a nephrologist – or both. However, each of them is trained to deal with a specific type of problems.
http://www.answergator.com has an in-depth article on the nephrologist vs urologist issue.