Consultant: An individual to whom one refers for expert advice or services. The use of consultants is common in medicine.
For example, a man with puzzling pains in the joints of the hands and feet may be referred to a rheumatologist who acts as a consultant to help illuminate the nature of the pain.
For another example, a woman has a breast lump that is biopsied and the biopsy is read by the initial pathologist as suspicious but not definitely indicative of cancer. The biopsy material can be sent for a second opinion to another pathologist with special expertise in breast cancer; this pathologist serves as a consultant on the case.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012