Children's Hospital Colorado
Urology

Hydronephrosis

We specialize in the big things, the small things and everything in between.

Best Children's Hospital by U.S. News & World Report Urology 2021-2 Badge

Next Steps

Would you like to learn more about us?
Urology
Ready to schedule an appointment?
Schedule online
Do you have questions about your child’s condition?
Call

What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis is the dilation or stretching of the kidneys that occurs when there is an obstruction or partial blockage to the flow of urine at some point along the urinary tract. Normally, urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters and into the bladder. If there is a blockage that prevents the urine from draining properly, urine can back up in the kidneys and hydronephrosis occurs.

What causes hydronephrosis?

Some children are born with hydronephrosis, while others can develop it as a result of a kidney stone or injury to the urinary tract. There are many different kinds of urinary tract obstructions that can lead to hydronephrosis. The most common type is at the junction where the ureter joins the kidney, called the ureteropelvic junction. This blockage is caused by an abnormal narrowing of the ureter at this location. The next most common site of narrowing is where the ureter meets the bladder, called the ureterovesical junction.

Some conditions commonly associated with blockage of the kidneys include:

Hydronephrosis cannot be prevented, but it may be prevented from worsening depending on the degree of the condition.

Who gets hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis is more common in males than in females. It can run in families.

Next steps

Cartoon image of a patient and doctor having a telehealth call.

Keeping you safe, wherever you are

We're here when you need us with the same safe, high-quality care we've always offered, even during the pandemic. Now, in many cases, you can get that care without even leaving home because we offer virtual visits across every one of our specialties.

See if telehealth is right for your child

 

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Vijaya Vemulakonda, MD

Vijaya Vemulakonda, MD

Urology - Pediatric, Urology

Marguerite Korber, NP

Marguerite Korber, NP

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Jeff Campbell, MD

Jeff Campbell, MD

Urology - Pediatric, Urology