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What is hydronephrosis?

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Hydronephrosis Illustration
Hydronephrosis means that the area of the kidney where urine is collected is enlarged or dilated. It can range in severity from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the dilation. Often children who have hydronephrosis are born with this condition.

Antenatal (before birth) hydronephrosis has emerged as one of the most common fetal abnormalities. Due to the increased use of prenatal ultrasound, it is now seen in 1 out of 100 pregnancies. It can be detected as early as the first trimester of pregnancy and, in most cases, is followed throughout the remainder of the pregnancy with repeated ultrasounds.

What are the symptoms of hydronephrosis?

Many children with mild hydronephrosis may not have any symptoms and the condition may never be detected. In severe cases of hydronephrosis, those associated with the blockage of urine, children may experience acute kidney pain, bleeding or urinary tract infections.

What are the possible causes of hydronephrosis?

What studies may your child undergo?

Our approach to treating hydronephrosis

Our team in the Division of Urology will take a thorough history, review any imaging with you, and tailor a treatment plan based on your child’s individual needs.

Reviewed by: Division of Urology
Date: May 2011

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