Putty kidney

Last revised by Calum Worsley on 5 Nov 2022

A putty kidney refers to a pattern of renal calcification associated with renal tuberculosis conventionally described on plain radiography. The calcification can be large, round or oval, dense or very homogeneous and ground glass-like, representing calcified caseous tissue within dilated calyces 3,4.

This condition is due to the superimposition of ureteral obstruction on renal parenchymal tuberculosis.

Premkumar et al. labeled calcification 'putty-like' if any faint area of uniform calcification was more than 1 cm in diameter 4. Putty calcification needs to be differentiated from a lobar pattern of calcification, wherein dense calcific rims outline the periphery of distorted renal lobes. Lobar calcification represents an end-stage appearance, associated with autonephrectomy.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5
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  • Case 6: with incidental contralateral nephrolithiasis
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