Accessory renal artery

Dr Henry Smith and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Accessory renal arteries are a common variant and are present in ~25% (range 20-30%) of the population. Their proper identification is of utmost importance for surgical planning prior to live donor transplantation 2,3 and renal artery embolisation for various reasons 5.

The term extra renal artery may be used 4, with a subclassification into:

  • aberrant renal artery: supplying the superior and/or inferior pole of the kidney
  • accessory renal artery: supplying the renal hilum

Accessory renal arteries occur bilaterally in 10-15% of cases:

  • single renal artery arising from the abdominal aorta: 70%
  • double renal arteries: ~20% (range 14-23%)
  • triple renal arteries: ~2.5% (range 1-4%)
  • quadruple renal arteries:  <1%

Most commonly accessory renal arteries arise from the abdominal aorta and supply the inferior pole of the kidney, although rarely they can arise from:


The first recorded case of multiple renal arteries was described by Eustachius in 1552 1.

Anatomy: abdominopelvic
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Article information

rID: 25835
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Accessory renal arteries
  • Extra renal areteries
  • Aberrant renal artery
  • Aberrant renal arteries
  • Extra renal artery

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: illustration
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    Case 1: MRA
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    Case 2: causing PUJ obstruciton
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    Case 3: bilateral accessory
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    Case 4: with aortic aneurysm
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    Case 5
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    Case 6: bilateral
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    Case 7: bilateral variants
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