Pelvic kidney

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Pelvic kidney
a,b)Intraoperative view of right pelvic kidney

A pelvic kidney, also known as an ectopic kidney, is a normal kidney located in the pelvis, instead of the abdomen. This occurs when a kidney does not ascend from its original location in the pelvis to its final location during prenatal development. They usually present no symptoms, but can increase risk of certain illnesses and healthcare problems.

Signs and symptoms

Often, a person with a pelvic kidney will go through their whole life not even knowing they have a pelvic kidney.


Typically, the kidney functions normally despite being in the wrong location.[1] However, it can develop complications.[2] A pelvic kidney can make it more difficult to diagnose kidney infections and kidney cancer.[3] The renal artery and the renal vein may be stretched if they remain attached to the normal locations on the abdominal aorta and the inferior vena cava, which can lead to illness.[3]


In the development of the human embryo, the metanephric kidneys fail to ascend and usually remain at the brim of the pelvis. This clinical scenario may present no signs or symptoms and the kidneys may function normally. It is associated at times with Mullerian dysgenesis.[citation needed]


A pelvic kidney is discovered on newborn kidney ultrasound screening. It may also be detected if complications arise later in life for this or a completely different reason, and during investigations.[citation needed]


In terms of the management of Pelvic kidney, there may not be a need to have anything done for a ectopic kidney, however in some cases surgery could be needed to correct the abnormality.[4]


Between 1 in 2,200 and 1 in 3,000 people may have a pelvic kidney.[1]


A pelvic kidney is also known as an ectopic kidney.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cinman, Nadya M.; Okeke, Zeph; Smith, Arthur D. (August 2007). "Pelvic kidney: associated diseases and treatment". Journal of Endourology. 21 (8): 836–842. doi:10.1089/end.2007.9945. ISSN 0892-7790. PMID 17867938. Archived from the original on 2022-06-10. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  2. "Institute for Fetal Health - Fetal pelvic kidney - Children's Memorial Hospital". Archived from the original on December 1, 2007. Retrieved September 6, 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Reid, Robin; Roberts, Fiona; MacDuff, Elaine, eds. (2011-01-01), "Chapter 12 - Genitourinary System", Pathology Illustrated (Seventh Edition), Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, pp. 445–491, ISBN 978-0-7020-3376-6, archived from the original on 2020-12-12, retrieved 2021-01-30
  4. "Ectopic Kidney | NIDDK". National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Archived from the original on 1 June 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2022.