Nephroptosis is a condition where the kidney descends more than 5cm or two vertebral bodies towards the pelvis when moving from a supine to upright position. Although the kidney moves into an abnormal position on orthostasis, the kidney moves back to its original anatomical site when the individual lays flat.
This condition mainly effects young slim women with the male to female ratio of 3:100. The right kidney is more commonly affected in 70% of individuals, with only 10% affecting the left kidney and 20% affecting both sides causing bilateral nephroptosis. The majority of cases are asymptomatic, however in a small percentage of individuals they can suffer from nephrotic symptoms which can be severe.
As symptomatic nephroptosis is an extremely rare condition, sufferers often struggle for several years to receive a diagnosis and have to visit a large number of specialists. Sufferers can also have difficulty finding a healthcare professional who knows about the condition and the surgical treatment of nephroptosis (nephropexy).
A recent published article in the journal of gastroenterology has now suggested nephroptosis should be considered as a possible cause for un-explained abdominal pain if no other cause can be identified.
The cause of nephroptosis is not fully understood, however with the majority of women being slim with a relatively low body mass index (BMI), theories of detachment relate to the lack of perirenal fat and fascia which usually keep the kidney positioned within the retroperitoneal space. A common factor which has been observed in patients with nephroptosis is also if the individual has experienced a sudden weight loss over a short period of time.