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Congenital Urogenital Abnormalities


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Congenital urogenital anomalies are birth defects and inherited conditions that affect the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, and bladder) or the genital tract (reproductive organs) also called the genitourinary system. Depending on the condition, these anomalies can be diagnosed during development in the womb, infancy, or childhood, while others can go unnoticed until symptoms develop in adolescence or adulthood.

Congenital urogenital anomalies can affect urine flow and cause kidney damage that may lead to nephrotic syndrome, acute kidney failure, or chronic kidney failure. Types of congenital urogenital anomalies that affect babies, children, and adults include:

  • Bladder duplication anomalies: an extra kidney or another part of the urinogenital tract
  • Cystic kidneys: fluid-filled growths on the kidney caused by polycystic kidney disease, multicystic dysplastic kidney, medullary cystic disease, or medullary sponge
  • Fusion anomalies: joined kidneys (horseshoe kidney or crossed-fused renal ectopia)
  • Kidney (renal) agenesis: absence of one or both kidneys
  • Kidney (renal) dysplasia: abnormal formation of the structures inside your kidneys or tubules
  • Kidney (renal) ectopia: abnormal kidney location
  • Kidney (renal) hypoplasia: abnormal kidney size
  • Neurogenic bladder: a bladder-control problem caused by a nervous system disorder
  • Posterior urethral valve (PUV): an abnormality in the urethra, which causes urine to flow backward into your body, leading to swelling and tissue damage in the urinary tract and kidneys
  • Urethral meatal stenosis (urethral stricture): narrowing of the opening of the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the body)
  • Urinary tract infections: bacterial infections in your urethra (urethritis), bladder (cystitis), or kidneys (pyelonephritis) that cause swelling and blockages
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR): backward flow of urine to your kidneys, caused by blockages, neurogenic bladder, or ureter malformations

University of Miami Health System kidney specialists (nephrologists) work with urologists and other specialists to offer comprehensive care for people of all ages. We develop a customized treatment plan that offers you or your child the best possible results.


Blood Tests
Your doctor may use blood tests to evaluate your condition, such as tests that evaluate blood cell counts, electrolyte levels, and kidney function.

A kidney biopsy is a tissue sample taken from the kidney through a needle and analyzed at a lab. Results help your doctor diagnose the type of kidney disease, assess kidney damage, and determine the best treatment.

This test uses a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end to look at the lining of your bladder and your urethra.

Bladder cystography, also called voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) or micturating cystourethrogram (MCUG), helps doctors diagnose urethra abnormalities or urinary dysfunction, such as bladder-control problems, blockages, or urinary tract infections (UTIs). During the procedure, your bladder is filled with contrast dye and an imaging technologist takes X-rays while you urinate. If your doctor suspects vesicoureteral reflux, they may also take an ultrasound of your kidneys.

Renal Scan (Radionuclide Scan)
This nuclear imaging exam uses a small amount of radiotracer chemical that’s injected into your veins to assess your kidney’s urine production and blood flow. The imaging technologist uses a special camera, called a gamma camera or scanner, to detect the radiotracer from outside your body. Renal scans can identify reduced kidney function that’s caused by injuries, diseases, structural defects, or obstructions.

Doctors use urine samples to look for red blood cells, white blood cells, infections, or excessive protein in your urine. Your doctor may take a sample during your appointment, arrange urine collection over 24 hours, or take a sample directly from your bladder using a catheter (thin, flexible tube).

Urography is an imaging test that uses a contrast dye and computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view your kidneys, bladder, and ureters (tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder).

Doctors use urethrography to diagnose obstructions, narrowing of the urethra, or other structural issues. The test is used almost exclusively on men. Here, the contrast dye is inserted into the urethra, but does not go all the way into the bladder.


Angiography with Stent placement
If you have a narrowed blood vessel in your kidneys, your doctor may recommend placing a stent (a flexible, mesh tube) to restore blood flow. Your doctor makes a small incision and inserts a catheter with an attached, uninflated balloon to the narrowed vessel using X-ray guidance. The balloon is inflated, and your doctor places the stent in the vessel to hold it open.

Bladder Catheterization
Your doctor may use a catheter to drain excess urine and prevent further damage.

Bladder Rehabilitation
Your doctor may recommend physical rehabilitation therapy to manage bladder-control problems, including inability to urinate due to paralysis, nervous system dysfunction, or other kidney conditions. Specially-trained therapists provide education, physical manipulations, and customized treatment plans to help improve function.

Your doctor may prescribe medicines to fight infection, reduce swelling, control pain, or relax your bladder.

In some instances, doctors use surgery to treat congenital urogenital anomalies. Your doctor will discuss your options and let you know if surgery is right for you.

Why Choose UHealth?

Nationally recognized kidney care. Our kidney care program has been ranked among the nation’s best programs by U.S. News & World Report for the past nine years. We use preventive approaches to help avoid kidney injury and disease, along with advanced therapies to improve kidney health and function. We offer some of the most advanced kidney therapies, including continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) and therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE).

Comprehensive care in a compassionate, supportive environment. Kidney health impacts vital functions throughout your body. The kidneys can also be impacted by autoimmune or genetic disorders, which can lead to additional complications. That’s why our nephrologists work as part of a team to address the whole person. This group can include general physicians and specialists, nurses, social workers, dietitians, psychologists, and teachers.

World-class care in an academic health system. We’re recognized by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases as a Center of Excellence and a leader in treating kidney conditions. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities, our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide you with superior, personalized care and the latest treatment options.

Focus on preventive treatment. We concentrate on preventative treatment to decrease the risk of further health impacts, slow the progress of the disease, and help your child reach their full developmental potential when necessary.

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