What is Urology?
Urology is the specialist management of symptoms and diseases of the urinary system; that is the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, prostate and male genitalia. Diseases of the female genitalia and reproductive organs are treated by gynaecologists, and some non-surgical diseases of the kidneys are managed by nephrologists.
Urology was historically part of general surgery however over the last century, and in conjunction with the development of specialist instruments enabling minimally invasive urological procedures, urology became a separate surgical speciality, with its own specialist training programmes and Royal College representation.
Urology is now one of the largest and most varied surgical specialities. Urology includes a very wide range of conditions from mainly symptom-based and functional disorders through to large life-threatening tumours, and it utilises the full range of surgical techniques, from microsurgery to major open surgery including endoscopic, laparoscopic, robotic and percutaneous procedures.
What is a Consultant urologist and what does a urologist do?
Consultant Urologists are surgeons who have gone through rigorous training in the specialist management of diseases and symptoms arising from the urological system. All consultant urologists should be entered on the GMC specialist register and hold or have held substantive NHS Consultant positions.
The majority of urological symptoms can be investigated with appropriately directed non-invasive imaging techniques and managed without the need for surgery. For some complaints minimally invasive investigations are required, and a few may require surgery. Urology is a speciality that lends itself to minimally invasive surgical techniques, very few procedures involve a significant skin incision or scar and most can be performed using the bodies natural entry points.
Common Urological problems include: blood in the urine (haematuria), kidney stones or loin pain, renal colic, raised PSA, urinary tract infections or cystitis (UTI), prostatitis and pelvic pain syndromes, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, urinary voiding or storage symptoms, incontinence, erectile dysfunction, foreskin problems and scrotal lumps.
How to get an appointment with a Consultant Urologist:
Appointments with a Consultant Urologist on the NHS
Most Consultant Urologists work in NHS hospitals. To obtain an appointment your will need to visit your GP first. If your GP thinks that you require a specialist urological opinion he will refer you to a local NHS hospital. You will usually have a choice of hospitals. If your GP suspects urological cancer your first hospital appointment should be within two weeks, and treatment should be carried out within two months. If the problem is not cancer you may wait longer, however most hospitals aim to offer treatment within 18 weeks of referral.
Although NHS urology services are generally good, they are designed for dealling with large numbers of patients, and within this framework it is sometimes difficult to provide bespoke care. As a result when you are referred to an NHS hospital neither you or your GP will be usually able to specify which named consultant you see, and you may also not have the choice whether you are seen by the consultant, or one of his team. Because of this you may have to wait for a second referral within the department to see the appropriate consultant with the specific surgical skills related to your complaint. Furthermore, if you require an operation you may not be able to choose who performs it, in many hospitals in North London routine operations are often performed by surgeons who are not consultants.
Appointments with a Consultant Urologist made privately
Making an appointment to see a private urologist will allow you to choose which urologist you see, at a time and place of your choice. At North London Urology you can be seen within a few hours of contacting us, even if your symptoms are very mild. You will be seen in the comfortable surroundings of the private hospital of your choice and will have a much longer time allocated for your consultation than is possible on the NHS.
To arrange an appointment to see a private urologist at North London Urology you can ring up or email yourself and do not require a GP referral, although if you have medical insurance a GP referral letter may be a policy requirement. Investigations will be fully discussed and arranged at your convenience, and you will have access to some of the best facilities available.
If you see a private Urologist every aspect of your care will be delivered by a Consultant Urologist. At North London Urology we have particular expertise in minimally invasive surgical techniques, however if your complaint requires another kind of specialised urological surgery we have intimate knowledge of, and collaborate closely with, the best surgeons at particular operations in London to obtain the best possible outcome for the individual patient.