A Urologist (also known as a Urological Surgeon) is a surgeon who specialises in the medical and surgical treatment of urological or genitourinary disease – problems of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, penis, testis and pelvic problems. They treat a whole variety of conditions ranging from urological cancers (prostate cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, penile and testicular cancer) to prostate and bladder problems (difficulty passing urine/urinary symptoms, incontinence, infections, pain), urinary stone disease, testicular and penile problems (foreskin problems, testicular pain/lumps, vasectomy and vasectomy reversal). Some urologists also treat male infertility. A small proportion are also involved in kidney transplants.
All urologists will start off their training by going to medical school and training as a doctor. In the UK, a newly qualified doctor would have to work for a couple of years as a Foundation Trainee and then embark on their specialist training. This would include a few years in basic surgical training, gaining experience in a variety of different surgical specialties at the end of which the trainee would sit an examination to become a Member of one of the Royal Colleges. This is usually followed by higher surgical training in Urology lasting a few years (currently 5-6 years) at the end of which the trainee would sit a difficult examination to become a ‘Fellow’ of one of the Royal Colleges. By this stage, most trainee urologists would be a General Urologist. However, some surgeons may then take on a specialist post or ‘Fellowship’ for a year or two in order to gain subspecialist experience in their chosen sub-branch of urology. This may be in a specialist centre in the UK or abroad. Some trainees may also spend an additional year or two undertaking some formal research through an academic department or university and gain a postgraduate qualification such as an MS, MD or even a PhD.
While there may be several reasons why a particular person becomes a urologist, people often state the following: a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments, including open major surgery, keyhole surgery, laser surgery as one of them.