Persistent fetal lobulation of the kidneys

Last revised by Dr Henry Knipe on 17 May 2020

Persistent fetal lobulation is a normal variant seen occasionally in adult kidneys. It occurs when there is incomplete fusion of the developing renal lobules. Embryologically, the kidneys originate as distinct lobules that fuse as they develop and grow.

Radiographic features

It is often seen on ultrasound, CT or MRI as smooth indentations of the renal outline in between the renal pyramids.

Differential diagnosis

They should be distinguished from renal cortical defects, which generally overlies the pyramids.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: persistant lobulation in left hypoplastic kidney
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  • Case 2
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