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What is Kidney (Renal) Trauma?

Kidney (renal) trauma is when a kidney is injured by an outside force.

Your kidneys are guarded by your back muscles and rib cage. But injuries can happen as a result of blunt trauma or penetrating trauma.

  • Blunt trauma – damage caused by impact from an object that doesn’t break the skin.
  • Penetrating trauma – damage caused by an object that pierces the skin and enters the body.

Any type of trauma to the kidney might keep it from working well. It’s important to learn about damage to your kidneys and get immediate care if you need it.

Male Urinary Tract
Male Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

Female Urinary Tract
Female Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

What Happens Under Normal Conditions?

The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system. It includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra.

Healthy kidneys work day and night to clean our blood. These 2 bean-shaped organs are found near the middle of the back, just below the ribs. One kidney sits on each side of the spine.

Our kidneys are our body’s main filter. They clean about 150 quarts of blood daily. Every day, they form about 1-2 quarts of urine by pulling extra water and waste from the blood. Urine normally travels from the kidneys down to the bladder and out through the urethra.

As a filter, the kidney controls many things to keep us healthy:

  • Fluid balance
  • Electrolyte levels (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, acid)
  • Waste removal in the form of urine
  • The regulation of blood pressure and red blood cell counts

When the kidneys are damaged, they may not function well. In most cases, some damage won’t cause too many problems. But, major damage may require more treatment, like dialysis.