Medical Doctors vs. Doctors of Osteopathy

alisandeJuly 24, 2012

In our area, some of the physicians are Doctors of Osteopathy rather than MDs. According to what I've read, Osteopaths practice a holistic sort of medicine, seeking to find and treat the cause of a symptom rather than simply masking it with a prescription drug. I'm for that 100%, but I wonder if all or most of them really practice this way.

Have you had any experience with DOs?

I ask this morning because my doctor referred me to a dermatologist to look at something on my nose, and I see that he's a DO. He's been in practice only a few years. A friend of mine, a nurse, previously recommended another dermatologist in the same office, an MD with a lot more experience. I'm wondering if I should make a switch.

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A DO is a fully licensed physician and trained in all aspects of medicine that you associate with a physician who has an MD after his name. Originally it was more of a historical difference. Here in the Philadelphia we have several medical schools and there are numerous medical practices where both MDs and DOs practice together.

As for a holistic approach - that's really a matter of individual choice and you'll find both MDs and DOs that may incorporate it into their treatments.

Why not ask your physician why he recommended that particular dermatologist? Perhaps he has referred to him before with good results.

Here is a link that might be useful: difference

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:54AM
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....I forgot to add that my primary medical group has 7 physicians and over the many years that my family and I have gone there we've seen all the doctors. I checked their business card - 4 are MDs and 3 are DOs. I can honestly say that I don't see a difference in their treatment - but then most of our visits are routine.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:03AM
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Good to know, Maire--thanks. My doctor had recommended another member of the dermatology group, but she retired. So a member of my doctor's staff said, "Do you like Dr. T?" I replied that I didn't know him. That's the one I ended up having an appointment with.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:21AM
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Sally Brownlee

I went to a DO for many many years and an MD for the last 15 or so.
I really liked my DO. One thing he did was some minor chiropractic care. I loved that because insurance convered as an office visit.
He prescribed medicine and procedures as necessary, but I feel he was less quick to jump right into chemical solutions and often prescribed moderate holistic approach with appointments closer together to keep tabs on me.

He is probably 75 years old now and my parents still see him regularly. They are about the same age. I so appreciate them having a doctor that became a friend to grow old with them. He has been their primary care physician for over 40 years.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:52AM
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I've been to both too, but haven't seen any major differences in the way they treat.

If I'm trying to chose between doctors I'll put their name into a search engine and the websites where patients rate doctors will come up. The ratings will let you know if they listen to the patient, wait time and things like that.

Here is a link that might be useful: This is a good site! Healthgrades

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:53AM
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I always check on the individual doctor's hospital affiliations(Medical or Osteopathic). Many of the hospitals only grant privileges to doctors of their own persuasion.

Nothing worse than an emergency sending you to a hospital where your doctor(s) don't have privileges.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:55AM
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My Niece's DH is a DO with a specialty in Orthopedic surgery. He has all the privileges that an MD has and works side by side with them in and out of the OR. He has always told me that a DO has a more holistic approach to medicine, delving a little deeper into the history of the patient and looking for the root causes instead of just treating the symptoms. I have found that to be true in the two times I have seen a DO., but I also have a wonderful Gynecologist (MD) who does the same.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:38AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I have been to both, excellent physicians no matter the designation. I prefer a DO because of their chiropractic ability in addition to their other skills. I am currently going to an MD as primary but would just as happily chosen a DO, as long as they have what it takes to be an excellent physician.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:52AM
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No matter whether they are an M.D. or a D.O., they still do a residency in their specialty and have to pass the same boards exam.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Thanks, everyone! Lydia, he got good marks at that site. While I was there, I left a rating for my PCP, whom I've known and liked for years.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:08PM
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My OBGYN is an MD and my regular family doctor is a DO..I don't see any difference.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 2:00PM
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When I was yet employed, I went to a DO because of convience and found that for my ailments, there was very little difference in approach. My DO did offer treatment by hypnosis for those trying to quit smoking.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:50PM
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My primary care physician is a D.O., my cardiologist is a D.O. and the guy who is going to perform surgery on my right eye in a couple weeks is a D.O. I also have seen a gastrologist who was a D.O. On the other hand, my Orthopedic guy is an M.D. and my opthamologist is an M.D. I feel I get good care from them all.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:44PM
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Good input from everyone--I'm glad I asked. My appointment is tomorrow morning.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:48PM
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There is no difference. I have worked with many, many DOs, and they are all as equally quailified as MDs.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 8:24AM
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I just got back from my appointment. I liked him--a lot. Down to earth, good handshake, listened, informed.

Thanks again, all. Like I said, glad I asked.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:04AM
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That's interesting that you mentioned a good handshake. I really dislike a weak, barely there handshake. It shouldn't have any bearing on their abilities but I just find it odd.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:05PM
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I feel the same way about wimpy handshakes, Maire. Gives new meaning to the phrase "Get a grip!" :-)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:49PM
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