The word ‘hepatology’ comes from the Ancient Greek ‘hepar’ or ‘hepato’, meaning ‘liver’; and ‘ology’, referring to the study of a particular. Hepatology as a medical specialty concerns the study of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and biliary ducts, and the management of related disorders. Hepatologists may also be referred to as ‘liver specialists’.
What subspecialties are included under hepatology?
Hepatology has traditionally been considered to be a subspecialty of gastroenterology, which focuses on the entire digestive system and related disorders, including study of the colon, anus, intestine, stomach, and liver, among other organs and functions.
However, hepatology is a rapidly expanding field, and is now becoming recognised as a specialty in its own right, thanks to further understanding of the field and medical advances in the treatment and study of the liver. As it has only recently gained understanding as its own separate specialty, there are few official offshoots from it as a whole, though paediatric hepatology is a notable subspecialty.
What conditions does a hepatologist treat?
Liver specialists treat conditions affecting the liver, of course, in addition to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the biliary systems (e.g the pancreas, biliary ducts, and gallbladder). Some conditions a hepatologist would treat include: