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List of All Types of Physicians

author image Richard Nilsen
Richard Nilsen writes poetry, fiction, features and news stories in upstate New York. He was an emergency mental-health consultant for 20 years and directed a mentoring agency for a decade. Nilsen is a black-fly control technician in the Adirondack Park, where he enjoys hiking, biking and boating.
List of All Types of Physicians
Your doctor may come from one of several specialties. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Physicians play an important role in society and have a major affect on most people's lives. Physicians diagnose and treat major and minor illnesses. They treat people who are suffering from injuries and diseases. Physicians not only treat diseases, but also teach patients ways of prevention and, in some cases, about alternative medicine. They also are essential for providing preventative health care. Each of them focuses on particular areas of medicine. There essentially are two variations, the medical doctor (MD) and the Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). While both have four years of medical school, DOs are trained further in specifics of the musculoskeletal system. They are trained to focus on the person, rather than ailments.

Primary Care

Primary care physicians play a key role in patients' health because they see the same patients on a regular basis and care for their medical needs. Primary physicians tend to general health care, treating low-level illnesses, diseases, injuries and conditions. They also order tests for diagnoses and can send a patient to a variety of specialists for care of specific ailments or surgeons for surgical procedures.

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Pediatricians are medical doctors who treat children from birth to age 18. Pediatricians are involved with the patients' needs and include the entire family as part of the treatment plan for the young patient. They are family-focused physicians who encourage the family unit to live a happy and healthy life and involve themselves in preventative medicine, specifically for children.

Allopathic Physicians

Allopathic physicians, such as the DOs mentioned above, concern themselves with the patient's muscular skeletal system. They are concerned with proper body alignment, which includes bone structure and problems that occur there. They can prescribe needed treatments such as physical therapy and muscle and bone strengthening.


Surgical physicians focus on internal medicine generally, which is needed when there is a malfunction or injury to the human body. Surgery is the entry into the body to remove or repair the injury or disease. Surgeons tend to specialize in particular parts of the body or particular types of diseases. For example, a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer may not work on the brain.


Obstetric physicians focus on women and pregnancy, and play a key role in the delivery room. They are concerned with preventive health for the baby and prenatal health of the mother. They perform and evaluate tests during the pregnancy.


Since primary care physicians can't know everything about medicine, there are many specialist physicians who concentrate on certain parts of the body, such as ear, nose and throat, or on body systems such as the immune system. They may focus on the bones, specific types of cancer, or the kidneys. Others may concentrate on gastrointestinal problems or reproductive problems. General practitioners send patients to specialists to focus on problems in certain areas of the body.

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