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What is a D.O.?


What is a D.O.?

A D.O. is a complete physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery, evaluate, assess, diagnose and treat patients, and prescribe medications. The title D.O. stands for doctor of osteopathic medicine.

If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to a physician ever since you were born and perhaps were not aware whether you were seeing a D.O. (osteopathic physician) or an M.D. --(allopathic physician).  Both are complete physicians in the United States. Both D.O.s and M.D.s are fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery.

What is the difference between a D.O. and an M.D.?

D.O.s and M.D.s belong to a separate yet equal branch of American medical care. They are alike in many ways.  

  • Applicants to both D.O. and M.D. medical colleges are required to have four-year undergraduate degrees with an emphasis on scientific courses
  • Beyond college, both D.O.s and M.D.s complete four years of basic medical education
  • After medical school, both D.O.s and M.D.s obtain graduate medical education through such programs as internships and residencies.  This typically lasts another three to six years to practice a specialty
  • Both D.O.s and M.D.s can choose to practice in any specialty area of medicine -- such as pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine, surgery, dermatology, plastic surgery, neurology, orthopedics, anesthesiology, pathology, radiology or obstetrics
  • D.O.s and M.D.s must pass comparable examinations to obtain state licenses
  • D.O.s and M.D.s both practice in fully accredited and licensed hospitals and health care facilities

D.O.s represent a unique branch of American medical care that started in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., D.O.  Dr. Still was dissatisfied with 19th century medicine and was one of the first in his time to study the attributes of good health so that he could better understand the process of disease.  His philosophy of medicine dates back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine that focused on the unity of all body parts. D.O.s practice a “whole person” approach, not to be confused with “holistic” medicine.  Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, D.O.s regard your body as an integrated whole.

The philosophical differences between D.O.s and M.D.s dates back to their historical origins. However, both are responsible for practicing the same standards of care, diagnostic and treatment modalities.  Both are accorded the same professional privileges in the practice of medicine and surgery.

How does the D.O. philosophy apply to Dr. Lum’s practice?

You are more than just your skin.  You are the sum of your mind and body parts. Your mind, your aesthetic goals and well-being are just as important as your natural appearance is.  Dr. Lum is an aesthetic physician you can interact with the way you would with a primary care physician. That’s because Dr. Lum’s educational background is rooted in primary care through osteopathic philosophy from medical school, an osteopathic multispecialty rotating internship, and further post-doctoral training. Dr. Lum also completed a three-year M.D. family practice residency, and was board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine in 1992.  

Dr. Lum does not believe in focusing on one treatment modality because there are multiple factors that age us, and many ways to address them.  Aesthetic procedures are purely elective. He will suggest a combination approach that is practical, reasonable and premised on evidence-based medicine, consistent with safe practice guidelines. We treat not only diseases, but also prevent them by encouraging healthy lifestyle habits, diet, and an avoidance of their causes.


Lumier Medical
23639 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 300
Torrance, CA 90505
Phone: 310-375-9595
Fax: (877) 723-0773

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