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Health Care Providers: Nephrologists

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.