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Health Care Providers: Nephrologists

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What Is Nephrology?

Nephrology (nih-FROL-uh-jee) is the medical specialty that treats diseases and problems of the kidneys.

What Is a Nephrologist?

A nephrologist (nih-FROL-uh-jist) is a doctor who cares for people with diseases and conditions that affect the kidneys.

Why Would Someone Need One?

Nephrologists diagnose and treat problems such as: 

They do medical tests and procedures such as:

They can also work with a transplant team to care for people who need a kidney transplant.

What Is Their Training?

A nephrologist's training typically includes:

  • 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
  • 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
  • 3 years of training in a pediatric or internal medicine residency program
  • a nephrology or pediatric nephrology fellowship program. A “fellow” is a doctor who did more specialty training after completing medical school and residency training.

Some nephrologists go on to further specialize; for example, in transplant nephrology or critical care nephrology.

Good to Know

Nephrologists often work closely with urologists. They each have a slightly different focus but there is some overlap in the care they give. Nephrologists treat people with kidney problems. Urologists treat people with problems of the urinary tract and kidneys.

Date reviewed: September 2022