What is Rheumatology?

Rheumatology is a non-surgical subspecialty of Internal Medicine (Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Infectious Diseases, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Pulmonary Medicine, Hematology and Oncology are the others) that deals with varied diseases and conditions associated with joints, soft tissues, bones and internal organs. Many of these conditions, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, are labeled Autoimmune Diseases. All Rheumatologists are Internists, having trained for 3 years in an Internal Medicine Residency and later trained for an additional 2 years or more in a Rheumatology Fellowship Program. We diagnose and treat common, simple conditions as well as complex, potentially life-threatening diseases. Due to the nature of our specialty and training, Rheumatologists are often called upon by physicians in other specialties to aid in the solving of undetermined or puzzling cases.

A few examples of diseases and conditions belonging to the 4 major type groups diseases we treat include? (Note: if you click on patient education you will find a list of the most commonly seen rheumatic diseases and conditions)

Soft Tissue Conditions

Bursitis, Tendonitis, Fibromyalgia, Carpal Tunne

Systemic Diseases (including Autoimmune Diseases)

Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Vasculitis, Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Crystal Conditions

Gout, Pseudogout

Osteoarthritis (also known as Degenerative Arthritis)

Of small and major joints, Lumbar Stenosis, Cervical Spondylosis

How do I know whether to see a Rheumatologist or Orthopedists?

  • Rheumatologists do not perform surgeries. However, we are experts in joint aspirations and injections whether it be with cortisone or viscosupplements (eg, Synvisc-1, Orthovisc and many others). Joint and tendon injections can be given by either specialty.
  • As a rheumatologist, when I see a patient with a ‘simple’ condition such as tendinitis, a thorough history and examination is always performed. This approach has resulted in the frequent recognition of previously undetected pathology (eg, thyroid nodule, carotid occlusion etc) which, when caught early, has prevented serious complications and costs.

Office Address

Riddle Memorial Hospital Office (Main Office)
1088 W. Baltimore Pike. Suite 2105 Health Center II
Media, PA 19063

Phone # (610) 565-2415
Fax # (484) 444-0111

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Office
1503 Lansdowne Ave. Suite 3010
Darby, PA 19023

Phone # (610) 237-5801
Fax # (610) 237-5802