Extrarenal Pelvis

Extrarenal pelvis is commonly found in imaging reports when describing the kidneys.  This article will discuss what extrarenal pelvis is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and the importance of imaging in its detection and management.

What is Extrarenal Pelvis?

Extrarenal pelvis refers to a condition where the renal pelvis, a part of the kidney that collects urine before it moves to the ureter, is located outside the renal hilum. It’s a normal anatomical variation that doesn’t usually affect kidney function or lead to health issues. However, understanding this variation is crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment of urinary system conditions.

Causes and Symptoms of Extrarenal Pelvis

The formation of an extrarenal pelvis is typically a congenital issue, meaning it’s present at birth. It results from the way the kidney develops while a baby is growing in the womb. Most individuals with an extrarenal pelvis experience no symptoms or health problems related to this condition. It’s often discovered incidentally during imaging tests for unrelated health issues.

Importance of Imaging in Detecting Extrarenal Pelvis

Imaging plays an important role in the identification and evaluation of extrarenal pelvis. Various imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT (Computed Tomography) scans, and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) can evaluate the structure of the kidneys and urinary tract, including the renal pelvis location.

Ultrasound Examination

Ultrasound is a non-invasive and commonly used imaging method to observe the kidneys and urinary tract. It can effectively detect the presence of an extrarenal pelvis by providing images that show the renal pelvis lying outside the kidney’s boundary.

CT Scans

CT scans offer a more detailed view of the kidneys and surrounding structures than ultrasound. They are particularly useful in diagnosing complex cases where an extrarenal pelvis might be associated with other urinary tract anomalies or conditions.


MRI provides high-resolution images of the kidneys and urinary tract, making it an excellent tool for evaluating extrarenal pelvis and its potential impact on kidney function. It’s especially beneficial for patients who require detailed imaging without exposure to radiation.

Diagnosis of Extrarenal Pelvis

The diagnosis of an extrarenal pelvis typically involves a comprehensive evaluation that includes a patient’s medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests. Imaging is crucial in confirming the presence of an extrarenal pelvis and ruling out other conditions that may mimic its symptoms, such as hydronephrosis.

Management and Treatment

For most people with an extrarenal pelvis, no treatment is necessary as it doesn’t affect kidney function or lead to significant health issues. However, if associated symptoms or complications arise, such as urinary tract infections or obstructions, treatment focuses on addressing these specific concerns. Regular monitoring through imaging may be recommended to assess kidney health and function over time.


Extrarenal pelvis is a common anatomical variation that usually has no impact on health or kidney function. Despite its benign nature, understanding this condition is important for healthcare professionals to ensure accurate diagnosis and management of urinary system conditions. Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI play a crucial role in detecting and evaluating extrarenal pelvis.


Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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