Ectopic Kidney

An ectopic kidney what is?

A kidney that is ectopic is one that is positioned above, below, or on the contrary direction of the kidney’s typical location in the urinary system. The two kidneys are often found along either side of the spine, right below the rib cage, in the center of your back.


Most people with ectopic kidneys never experience any signs or health issues, and many never even know they have the illness. A prenatal ultrasound, an imaging test that utilizes sound waves to build an image of how a baby was developing in the womb, or other diagnostic procedures used to check for an urinary tract infections or determine the reason of stomach pain are the most common times that an ectopic renal is diagnosed. A person seldom has two ectopic kidneys.


The kidneys of a fetus begin to form in the womb as tiny buds inside the lower abdomen and pelvis.


The kidneys of the fetus gradually shift from the pelvis towards their usual location in the back, close to the rib cage, throughout the first eight weeks of development. Whenever an ectopic kidney develops while a child is growing, the kidney


stops traveling up too soon and remains in the abdominal area and pelvic around the bladder

travels too high in the abdomen, crosses the body’s midline, and frequently develops into or joins the other kidney, both of which are located in the same portion of the body.


Has the term “ectopic kidney” been used before?

A kidney is referred to as a pelvic kidney if it remains in the pelvis. Crossed renal ectopia refers to the condition when the kidney travels to the other part of the body.


Why do ectopic kidneys develop?

A congenital abnormality that develops while the fetus is growing is an ectopic kidney. Most birth abnormalities, including an ectopic kidney, are unknown to science.


Possible causes of an ectopic kidney include


  • A kidney bud that is underdeveloped
  • An abnormality with the renal tissue that controls where the growing kidney will go
  • A hereditary illness brought about by a genetic flaw
  • A disease, infection, pharmacological interaction, or chemical response when the fetus is growing

How frequent are ectopic kidneys?

Researchers don’t precisely know how many individuals have had an ectopic kidney because the majority of those who have one don’t have symptoms. According to some research, one in 1,000 persons has an ectopic kidney.


What additional medical issues might an ectopic kidney bring about?

Typically, an ectopic kidney doesn’t pose any risks to your health and may even function normally. Since most individuals have two kidneys at birth, if your aberrant kidney is completely inoperable, your second kidney could be able to perform the duties that both organs would have performed. An ectopic kidney that is not functioning occasionally has to be removed. Living including one kidney, also known as a solitary kidney, shouldn’t be problematic as long as the other nephron is functioning normally.

Those who suffer vesicoureteral reflux are more likely to develop an ectopic kidney (VUR). Urine can occasionally run backwards from the bladder to the kidneys and a single or both ureters in a condition known as VUR. In some individuals, an ectopic kidney might obstruct the proper excretion of urine from the body or be connected to VUR.


Other issues, such as those with delayed or stopped urine flow, may be connected to the ectopic kidney’s incorrect positioning.

  • infection in the urinary system. Bacteria inside the pee is not drained from the urinary system as it would be in an urinary system with delayed or obstructed urine drainage, or VUR, which may result in an urinary infection.

  • Kidney stones, also known as urinary tract calculi, are caused by minerals like calcium and oxalate that are frequently present in urine. These elements are more prone to accumulate and create kidney stones when urine outflow is less rapid than usual.


  • Trauma. Your risk of kidney damage from some types of trauma or injury may be higher if you have an aberrant kidney into your lower pelvis or abdomen or if it is fused. If either you or your child has had ectopic kidneys and wishes to play combat sports or take part in those other activities that might harm the kidney, see a medical practitioner beforehand.


If you suffer from any of these medical problems, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider.


What signs might point to an ectopic kidney?

The majority of ectopic kidney patients have no symptoms. However, if difficulties arise, signs might include


Back or abdominal discomfort fever blood in the urine, or bleeding in the urine bulge or mass inside the abdomen frequent or urgent urination, or burning when urinating


How can medical experts identify an ectopic kidney?

Many persons with ectopic kidneys are unaware of their condition unless they undergo further testing or the aberrant kidney is detected throughout a prenatal ultrasound.


Lab testing and urinary tract imaging exams may be used by medical specialists to determine whether you have ectopic kidneys and to rule out some other health issues. You typically don’t require additional testing or treatment if you have the ectopic kidney as long as it isn’t producing any symptoms or even other health issues


Imaging exams

At a hospital or outpatient facility, an imaging test is carried out by a professionally trained technician, and the pictures are then examined by a radiologist.


The following imaging exams are used by medical practitioners to help identify and treat an ectopic kidney.


  • Sound waves are used in ultrasounds to examine inside body structures. The position of the kidneys may be seen in the photographs.
  • Nullifying cystourethrography uses x-rays to demonstrate how urine passes through bladder and urethra. NIH external link
  • Nuclear scans, also known as radionuclide scans, can reveal any obstructions in the urinary bladder as well as the size and position of an ectopic kidney.
  • To create images of your organs, electromagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) employs an electromagnetic field and radio waves without the use of radiation.


Lab tests

A medical expert may do blood and urine tests to evaluate your kidney health


How is an ectopic kidney treated by medical professionals?

If your ectopic kidney is not producing any symptoms or harm to the body or kidney, your doctor may decide not to treat it. Your doctor could advise more testing or surgery to fix the issue if tests reveal that you have a clog or another potential concern in the urinary system.


A medical expert can evaluate and treat your VUR if you have it and have symptoms.


Can an ectopic kidney be prevented?

No. Health care experts are unaware of the reasons or methods for preventing an ectopic kidney, as they are with many other birth abnormalities.


Trials in Medicine for Ectopic Kidney

Clinical studies are carried out and supported by the NIDDK for a variety of illnesses and ailments, including renal problems. The goal of the trials is to discover novel approaches to illness detection, treatment, and quality of life improvement.


What are clinical studies, and do you need to participate in one?


The foundation of all medical advancements is clinical research, which includes clinical trials. Clinical trials examine novel approaches to avert, diagnose, or cure illness. Clinical trials are also used by researchers to examine various facets of treatment, including improving the life quality for those with chronic diseases.


Back to Top