Lobulated Kidney

Lobulated kidneys involve the presence of multiple small indents or lobules on the kidney’s surface.  This finding can be seen on imaging studies like ultrasound, CT and MRI. This article aims to discuss causes, symptoms, and imaging techniques associated with lobulated kidneys.

What Causes Lobulated Kidney?

Lobulated kidneys often stem from congenital abnormalities during fetal development. The lobulation occurs due to irregularities in the formation of the kidney’s cortex during the early stages of pregnancy.

Symptoms of Lobulated Kidney:

Typically, lobulated kidneys do not produce noticeable symptoms.  People with Lobulated kidneys can still have associated other abnormalities of the kidneys.

Diagnosing Lobulated Kidney:

Doctors employ various imaging techniques to diagnose lobulated kidneys accurately. These include:

  1. Ultrasound Imaging: Ultrasound scans utilize sound waves to create images of the kidney. It helps in identifying the lobulations and any associated abnormalities.
  2. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI scans provide detailed images of the kidneys, offering clearer insights into the lobulated structure and any complications.
  3. Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: CT scans use X-rays to produce cross-sectional images of the kidneys. This method aids in visualizing the lobulated kidney’s structure and any potential complications.

Treatment Options for Lobulated Kidney:

Lobulated kidneys do not require treatment.  This is a condition you are born with and is a normal variation in the appearance of the kidneys.

What Can Look Like Lobulated Kidneys on Imaging?

Most of the time this normal variation does not cause diagnostic difficulties.  At times, a lobulation can mimic a kidney mass or tumor.  In these cases, further imaging with advanced modalities like CT or MRI will be helpful.


Lobulated kidneys can be accurately diagnosed through various imaging techniques like ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans. They don’t cause symptoms and represent a normal variation.  The main confusion arises when a lobulation mimics a kidney mass.  In these cases, further imaging will be helpful.

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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