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Author Topic: my kidneys are two different sizes  (Read 2783 times)

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Offline vardnas

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my kidneys are two different sizes
« on: March 27, 2012, 06:01:24 PM »
Hey gang,

I'm not freaking out about this, per se, but I'm just curious to see if anyone else has experienced this:

I had an abdominal ultrasound last October and never heard back from my doctor regarding there being anything bad and didn't really think of it again.

Recently, I lost my health insurance and thought it might be a good idea to get a copy of my records from my doctor to have on hand, in case I need to start seeing a new doc or whatnot sometime in the future. So I went to pick them up today and took a look at the abdo scan results, as I've never seen them before. Liver, gallbladder, pancreas, bile duct, etc, etc, all there were fine. When I got to the part about my kidneys, it said my right kidney was fine, measuring 11 centimeters, yet my left kidney measured only 7-something centimeters in size, and due to the fact that they're not symmetrical, it could be "secondary to left renal atrophy." There was a follow-up comment stating that a follow CT scan could be helpful.

Wow, what a phrase. I called my doctor right up and asked her what she thought, and she said that right now, no action is needed, as I don't exhibit the signs of renal failure, and I could very well have been born that way, with one kidney smaller than the other. She said that further diagnostic tools may be helpful if there comes a time when I start to have kidney problems. And that also the radiologist, who has no prior knowledge of the patient, needs to suggest follow-up tests no matter what abnormality they see, to cover their own behinds.

So there you go. Has anyone else experienced this? Or have had your doctor tell you otherwise? I'm not totally panicking, because hey I can live with one kidney and who knows if there's even a problem. It was just kind of shocking to read that on a report.
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In case anyone is still confused:  googling your symptoms will cause you to remain in a state of extreme anxiety. Stepping away from the internet is the first step toward lasting peace.

Offline ClassicNerd

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Re: my kidneys are two different sizes
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 10:11:20 PM »
Hey vardnas, kudos for staying calm. I know it's tough. I have had an abdominal ultra-sound before without issue; however, I have had ultra-sounds done on a variety of lymph nodes and they all came back from the radiologist advising my doctor to repeat ultra-sound every year to check for "malignant changes." When I spoke to my doctor, he told me the lymph nodes were completely benign, and that the radiologist did indeed say to repeat the test just to cover his/her behind. My doctor told me no further follow-ups were required unless I started to display troubling symptoms, or the lymph nodes grew palpably larger.

My doctor didn't call me with my ultra-sound results, either. I found out myself.

Also, just to put this into perspective for you: a family friend of ours had a daughter that required a kidney transplant from birth. She currently functions on only one (slightly enlarged) kidney and has been doing great for years. She gets the occasional check-up/monitoring, but otherwise she has a completely normal life. She is off to university now, I saw her last year and she's far more athletic, and in much better shape than I am. A quick check online revealed that different sized kidneys is quite common. Human bodies aren't symetrical so it could be normal for one kidney to be larger than the other.

I'd say, if your doctor is not concerned, don't waste your time worrying about this. Go for your regular screening tests, and don't fret unless you experience real symptoms (not the imaginary HA ones - though I know it is hard to tell the difference).

I admire how you're handling this, by the way. I'm sure you know keeping calm is the best way to combat those irrational thoughts/fears.  Without emotion, negative thoughts are pretty dull.
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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

Offline gridder

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Re: my kidneys are two different sizes
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 10:17:07 PM »
First of all, there is normally one kidney that is smaller than the other--I can't remember which one. In my case I had a us when preggo with my son due to a stone. They told me then that one was smaller than the other, but not the 'normal' one. Doc sai I may want to follow, 8 years later I remember to ask my gp amnd she says no to worry about it with no symptoms. So, the moral of the story is that renal size difference is not something to be concerned about. Like someone else sai, we even have a spare!
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