What is Horseshoe Kidney (Renal Fusion)?

Symptoms

What are the Symptoms of a Horseshoe Kidney?

Up to 7 out of 10 children and adults with this abnormality will have symptoms. These can include:

Horseshoe kidneys have symptoms much more often than do other types of abnormal kidneys.

Kidney cancer is rare in children, but cancer tumors are somewhat more likely to occur in horseshoe kidneys than in normal kidneys. Some symptoms of a kidney tumor are:

Diagnosis

How is Horseshoe Kidney Diagnosed?

Often, health care providers find horseshoe kidneys while treating other conditions. A health care provider may also find them when looking for the cause of symptoms mentioned earlier. These imaging tests could help your health care provider find a horseshoe kidney:

Your health care provider may also order blood tests to see how well the kidney(s) are working.

Treatment

How is Horseshoe Kidney Treated?

Treatment may not be needed if there are no symptoms. There isn’t a cure for horseshoe kidney, but the symptoms can be treated if they cause problems (“supportive treatment”).

Blockage of urine flow (“obstruction”) and urine flowing backwards from the bladder (“vesicoureteral reflux”) are very common in patients with horseshoe kidney. These can both be fixed with surgery.

A horseshoe kidney is most often set lower and much closer to the front of the body than a normal kidney. It’s also more likely to be hurt when there’s trauma to the abdomen than is a normal kidney. Wearing a medical alert bracelet will let emergency care providers know to be aware of the chance of kidney damage. Children with a horseshoe kidney should avoid contact sports.

After Treatment

What Can I Expect after Treatment for Horseshoe Kidney?

Horseshoe kidneys can become blocked just as any normal kidney can. Surgery to remove blockages or kidney stones in the ureter is usually successful.

If the only complaint from the horseshoe kidney is pain, surgery will often not ease the pain.