The formation of the human kidney requires sophisticated coordination of events during a baby’s development in the womb. Sometimes the normal series of events is interrupted or otherwise altered. When this happens, kidneys with abnormal location, number or arrangements (kidney malformations) can occur. This can lead to kidneys that do not sit in the correct location (ectopic kidney), kidneys that don’t form correctly or at all (dysplastic or aplastic kidneys), kidneys with more than one segment (duplicated kidneys), or kidneys that are stuck to each other (fusion anomalies).
While many of these “anomalies” have no consequence to your child's health at all, some of them are associated with urological problems. However, even when problems occur, most children and adults with kidney anomalies lead normal healthy lives with excellent kidney function if adequately treated. These problems can include poor drainage of urine, urinary reflux, poor function of that kidney, the formation of kidney stones or other problems. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove or reconstruct part of the urinary tract to optimize function and relieve symptoms. Your pediatric urologist will work with you to determine how your child’s kidney’s structure, location and function may affect their health and develop a plan to diagnose and treat any problems.