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Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children)

Fluid in or around the kidney

12/03/2004

Question:

I have a 2 week old son that the doctor says has fluid in or around the kidney. We are going to a specialist in a few weeks, but I am concerned as to what this might be. Our doctor has not told us much, so we are beginning to worry. Do you have any idea of what fluid in or around the kidney is, what is done about it, and how serious is it? Thanks!

Answer:

Since so many expecting mothers are having ultrasounds done of their babies before birth, many are being detected as having possible kidney abnormalities. The fluid that is detected is actually retained urine in the collecting system, that part of the kidney that is the plumbing, i.e. forms the tube that brings the urine to the bladder. Ordinarily the collecting system is so small it cannot be seen. If it is dilated, then it can be seen on ultrasound. Sometimes problems are detected that can be corrected before a child ever gets sick in the first place. The majority of time, however, children have dilations that go away on their own over the course of time.

Unfortunately, ultrasounds done before birth cannot make a clear diagnosis and cannot predict what may or may not need to be done after birth. As long as the unborn child is doing well and the "amniotic fluid," i.e. the fluid around the baby, is normal, nothing usually needs to be done until after birth. At that point, further tests can be done that will help define whether or not there is a problem to deal with. Rarely does anything need to be done urgently after birth, and usually these tests can be done a few weeks after birth.

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Response by:

Rama   Jayanthi, MD Rama Jayanthi, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Urology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University