What causes malrotated kidney?

Before birth, the kidneys normally pass through a complex series of developmental steps when they change position and orientation.  Malrotated kidneys occur when these steps do not occur in the usual way so the kidney ends up in an abnormal position, orientation, or both. Malrotated kidneys are generally easily diagnosed by sonogram.

Often, kidney malrotation is found in an otherwise healthy infant or child, sometimes noticed on a prenatal (before birth) sonogram, and may not have any impact on health.  In adults, kidney malrotation might be noticed when a person has body imaging for a completely different reason.

In some cases, a malrotated kidney can be associated with some functional problems in the way urine drains to the bladder and with vesicoureteral reflux (when some urine flows backwards through the urinary system).  These problems may lead to urinary tract infections (UTI), which could be the only sign of the condition.  More rarely, malrotated kidneys may be part of more complex combinations of congenital (birth) defects.

Additional testing or imaging might be recommended when a malrotated kidney is noticed in a baby, especially after a UTI.

Continue Learning about Kidney Disease and Urology

Kidney Disease and Urology

Kidney Disease and Urology

The kidneys are amazing organs. One of the kidney’s major functions is to filter and remove waste products and excess fluids from your body. Each and every day, your kidneys filter over 200 quarts of fluid to produce about 2 quart...

s of urine that is stored in the bladder, and ultimately removed through a process called urination. Your kidneys also play an important role in removing drugs, regulating blood pressure, controlling the production of red bloods cells and helping promote strong, healthy bones by producing an active form of vitamin D.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.