Injury to the kidney and ureter is damage to these organs of the upper urinary tract.
Kidney damage; Toxic injury of the kidney; Kidney injury; Traumatic injury of the kidney; Fractured kidney; Inflammatory injury of the kidney; Bruised kidney; Ureteral injury
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The kidneys are located in the flank (back of the upper abdomen at either side of the spinal column). They are deep in the abdomen and are protected by the spine, lower rib cage, and strong muscles of the back. This location protects the kidneys from many outside forces.
The kidneys are well-padded for a reason -- they have a large blood supply. Injury can lead to severe bleeding.
Kidneys may be injured by damage to the blood vessels that supply or drain them, including:
The goals are to treat emergency symptoms and prevent or treat complications. You may need to stay in a hospital for close observation because of the risk of internal blood loss from an injured kidney.
Nonsurgical treatments for kidney injury may include:
Analgesics for pain relief
Bed rest for 1 - 2 weeks or until bleeding is reduced
Close observation and treatment for symptoms of kidney failure
Medications to treat damage caused by toxic substances or illnesses (for example, chelation therapy for lead poisoning or allopurinol to lower uric acid in the blood due to gout)
Stopping medications or exposure to substances that may have injured the kidney
Medications such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants if the injury was caused by inflammation
Treatment of acute kidney failure
Surgical treatments for kidney injury may include:
Surgery to repair a "fractured" or torn kidney, torn blood vessels, torn ureter, or similar injury
Surgery to remove the entire kidney (nephrectomy), drain the space around the kidney, or stop the bleeding (angioembolization)
Surgery may be needed to treat a ureter injury.
The outcome depends on the cause and extent of injury. The damage may be mild and reversible, immediately life-threatening, or long-term and causing complications.
The kidney may return to normal function, or it may go into acute or chronic failure.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.