If a kidney does not ascend as it should in normal foetal development it remains in the pelvic area and is called a pelvic kidney, ectopic kidney, or pancake kidney. Often a person with a pelvic kidney will go through their whole life not even knowing they have this condition, unless it is discovered on newborn kidney ultrasound screening or if complications arise later in life for this or a completely different reason, and during investigations the condition is diagnosed. It is not a harmful condition generally, but can develop complications.
In the development of the human embryo, the kidneys fail to ascend and usually remain at the brim of the pelvis. This clinical scenario may present no signs or symptoms and the kidneys may function normally. It is associated at times with Mullerian dysgenesis.
Variations of renal ectopia and fusion: A) Pelvic kidney open arrow, B) subdiaphragmatic/thoracic kidney, C) crossed fused ectopic kidney, and D) horseshoe kidney.
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