A hepatologist is a doctor who has undergone specific training in dealing with liver problems. A physician must first finish medical school and an internal medicine residency before becoming a hepatologist. He then completes further training in the form of a gastroenterology fellowship since the liver is a component of the gastrointestinal tract. Following that, a fellowship program focused exclusively on the liver is completed. Hepatologists are primarily consultants who deal with the most severe liver diseases, such as hepatitis and the follow-up treatment of liver transplant patients, due to their specific training.
Hepatologists are generally called in when internal medicine physicians and gastroenterologists are faced with severe liver issues, according to “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine.” A doctor may refer a patient to a hepatologist in less urgent situations, and the hepatologist will see the patient in his or her office. When seriously ill individuals are admitted to the hospital, liver problems may develop. In such situations, the patient’s main care team will request a consultation with a hepatologist. The patient will then be examined by a hepatologist, who will make recommendations. The main treatment team then chooses which of the recommendations it wants to follow, depending on any additional medical issues the patient may have, and is responsible for putting them into action.
Hepatitis is one area where a dermatologist’s knowledge is required. Hepatitis is defined as any inflammation of the liver caused by a variety of factors such as autoimmune illness, alcoholism, or infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis B and C, both caused by viruses, are two of the most severe forms of hepatitis. These two forms of hepatitis may develop into chronic illnesses that require complicated treatments over time. Hepatologists are often relied upon to assist with the long-term management of hepatitis B and C patients.
Follow-Up After a Liver Transplant
Hepatologists are also often employed in the long-term treatment of liver transplant patients. Because hepatologists are not surgeons, they do not do liver transplants. Patients who have had a liver transplant need to be closely monitored after surgery to make sure that the body does not reject the transplant and that the new liver is working correctly.
Despite the fact that hepatology is more specialized and takes more training than general gastroenterology, hepatologists in the United States are often paid less than general gastroenterologists. Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual income of more than $187,000 in 2012, with internal medicine specialists earning approximately $224,000 on average.
Physicians and Surgeons Salary Information for 2020
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicians and surgeons earned a median annual income of $208,000 in 2020. Physicians and surgeons received a 25th percentile income of $131,980, which means that 75 percent of them earned more. The salary for the 75th percentile is $261,170, which means that 25% of people make more. In 2020, 727,000 physicians and surgeons were employed in the United States.