Nephrologists are specially trained internists who specialize in treating and managing diseases and disorders of the kidneys, organs that regulate many important bodily processes.

Watch an Overview of Nephrology

About Nephrology

Nephrology is a subspecialty of internal medicine practiced by physicians capable of providing comprehensive care for the kidneys (known as nephrologists). Nephrologists are trained to diagnose and treat kidney diseases and to determine whether a patient needs dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to stay healthy.

Additionally, these kidney specialists are usually trained in electrolyte and blood pressure disorders, which can directly affect the kidneys and in some cases cause kidney disease. Nephrologists diagnose kidney diseases using a variety of testing techniques that can include blood tests, urine tests, biopsies and ultrasounds, among other procedures.

Physicians trained in nephrology also utilize a variety of techniques to treat the various complications of the kidneys, including: placing catheters, prescribing certain medications, hemodialysis, educating patients on the performance of peritoneal dialysis and other treatments specific to each kidney diseases. These kidney diseases may include: chronic kidney disease, renal failure, polycystic kidney disease, Alport’s syndrome, cystinuria, primary hyperoxaluria, kidney stones, hereditary nephritis and glomerulonephritis, among others.

Nephrology Education & Training

The education and training required to become a nephrologist requires the completion of a four year bachelor’s degree before a four year MD or DO degree from a medical school. Following medical school, the physician must complete a three year residency program in internal medicine. The residency will allow the physician to be trained in the diagnosis and hands-on treatment of adult disease while under the supervision of experienced internists.

Following the residency, the physician must complete specialized training in the form of a two to three year nephrology fellowship. During fellowship training, the physician is supervised by experienced nephrologists and gains valuable clinical experience diagnosing and treating patients suffering from kidney diseases and complications.

Following fellowship training, the nephrologist may seek board certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine in nephrology. Like all physicians, nephrologists must be hold a medical license in the state(s) they provide medical care.