How do doctors diagnose pelvic kidney?

Doctors diagnose pelvic kidneys through an ultrasound at 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. If your baby is diagnosed with pelvic kidney, your OB team will refer you to Fetal Care Program at the Mass General for Children (MGfC).

Nurses from the Fetal Care Program will help guide you and your family throughout the remainder of your pregnancy by scheduling any imaging and consults needed. They will help answer any questions and offer any support you and your family need.

You will also have a prenatal visit with a pediatric nephrologist (doctor who cares for babies and children with kidney issues) to discuss the diagnosis in detail and make a care plan for your baby once they are born. The nurse coordinator in the Fetal Care Program will also schedule a fetal echocardiogram (a test similar to an ultrasound that checks how your baby’s heart looks and works). The fetal echocardiogram also checks for any other conditions that may happen with pelvic kidney. A pediatric cardiologist (heart doctor) will explain the results on the same day as the fetal echocardiogram.

How do doctors treat pelvic kidney?

There is no prenatal treatment for pelvic kidneys. After your baby is born, they will have an ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder in the MGfC Newborn Nursery or at an outpatient visit after they go home. The ultrasound helps check the kidneys and bladder and if your baby needs further care. Your child will be followed by a pediatric nephrologist or pediatric urologist (doctor who cares for babies and children who have issues with the bladder or reproductive organs) long term to check on the development of chronic (long-term) kidney diseases.

What is the long-term outlook for babies with pelvic kidney?

Most babies with pelvic kidneys go on to live normal, healthy lives. Your baby will see a pediatric nephrologist as they grow up. Your child should lead a normal life without any major restrictions on diet, activity level or sports participation.

In some cases, it can be helpful for your child to wear a custom-made protective device for high impact sports. You can discuss this with the pediatric nephrologist as your child grows up. Your child will be monitored over time to check for the development of chronic kidney disease. The pediatric nephrologist will provide care as needed.

Rev. 9/2021. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.