Nephroptosis or hanging kidney is a congenital condition where one of the kidneys is not properly supported by the fibrous fascia that attaches it to the spine. As a result, when a patient stands, the kidney instead sits on the pelvis, stretching the blood vessels that are attached to it. Although it is a very common condition (occurring in one of about every 50 people and even more often in women), it is usually asymptomatic.
Nephroptosis presents with rather prosaic symptoms that are common to many conditions, such as pain in the side, nausea, increased blood pressure while standing, chills, and the presence of blood, protein or both in the urine. However, one of its key indicators is that patients often say their symptoms are relieved when they lie down. As such, to confirm the condition, scans of the kidney must be made while the patient is both standing and lying down.
If the condition is asymptomatic and is found during an examination for another condition, it is usually monitored as the surgery to correct the condition is not without risks. Where the symptoms are problematic, the kidney can be reattached surgically. This procedure can now be done laproscopically.