Learn About Perirenal Abscess

What is the definition of Perirenal Abscess?

Perirenal abscess is a pocket of pus around one or both kidneys. It is caused by an infection.

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What are the alternative names for Perirenal Abscess?

Perinephric abscess

What are the causes of Perirenal Abscess?

Most perirenal abscesses are caused by urinary tract infections that start in the bladder. They then spread to the kidney, and to the area around the kidney. Surgery in the urinary tract or reproductive system or a bloodstream infection can also lead to a perirenal abscess.

The biggest risk factor for perirenal abscess is kidney stones, by blockage of urine flow. This provides a place for an infection to grow. Bacteria tend to stick to the stones and antibiotics cannot kill the bacteria there.

Stones are found in 20% to 60% of people with perirenal abscess. Other risk factors for perirenal abscess include:

  • Diabetes
  • Having an abnormal urinary tract
  • Trauma
  • IV drug use
What are the symptoms of Perirenal Abscess?

Symptoms of perirenal abscess include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Pain in the flank (side of the abdomen) or abdomen, which may extend to the groin or down the leg
  • Sweating
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What are the current treatments for Perirenal Abscess?

To treat perirenal abscess, the pus can be drained through a catheter that is placed through the skin or with surgery. Antibiotics should also be given, at first through a vein (IV), then can switch to pills when infection starts improving.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Perirenal Abscess?

In general, quick diagnosis and treatment of perirenal abscess should lead to a good outcome. Kidney stones must be treated to avoid further infections.

In rare cases, the infection can spread beyond the kidney area and into the bloodstream. This can be deadly.

What are the possible complications of Perirenal Abscess?

If you have kidney stones, the infection may not go away.

You may need to have the infection surgically removed.

You may have to have the kidney removed if infection cannot be cleared or is recurrent. This is rare.

When should I contact a medical professional for Perirenal Abscess?

Contact your provider if you have a history of kidney stones and develop:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Burning with urination
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Urinary tract infection
How do I prevent Perirenal Abscess?

If you have kidney stones, ask your provider about the best way to treat them to avoid a perirenal abscess. If you undergo urologic surgery, keep the surgical area as clean as possible.

Kidney anatomy
Kidney - blood and urine flow
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What are the Latest Advances for Perirenal Abscess?
Safety and efficacy of retrograde intrarenal surgery for the treatment of renal stone in solitary kidney patients.
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: January 10, 2021
Published By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Chambers HF, Sakoulas G. Staphylococcal infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 272.

Cooper KL, Badalato DM, Rutman MP. Infections of the urinary tract. In: Partin AW, Domochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 55.

Nicolle LE. Urinary tract infection in adults. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 36.