What is Caliectasis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2019
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Caliectasis is a kidney condition characterized by dilation of the calices, structures inside the kidney which form part of the renal pelvis which drains into the ureter. Once in the ureter, fluid can be moved into the bladder and periodically eliminated through the urethra once enough fluid builds up. In individuals with caliectasis, fluid backs up in the kidneys and the calices become distended. Patients diagnosed with this condition are usually treated by a urologist, a doctor who specializes in care of the urinary tract.

One reason this condition develops is a urinary tract obstruction. Stones, growths, and other obstructions can make it difficult for fluid to drain from the renal pelvis. As it builds up, it puts pressure on the calices and they start to expand. This causes caliectasis. Likewise, infections in the urinary tract can cause similar problems.

Patients with this condition may find it difficult to urinate and can pass blood in their urine. The area of the kidneys may also feel tender and painful when it is palpated, and in some cases swelling can be felt. An ultrasound image will reveal swollen kidneys characteristic of caliectasis. Whether the condition is due to obstruction or due to infection, the first step in the patient evaluation will be to run some additional diagnostic tests.


These tests will provide more information about the patient's general health and the specifics behind the cause of the dilation of the calices. Surgical treatment options may be necessary, so this testing can also be used to prepare for surgery. Options for treatment can include a procedure to drain the kidney to relieve the pressure, antibiotics to treat infection, and surgery to remove a stone or growth. It may also be possible to dislodge a blockage and break it up for the purpose of allowing the patient to express it without the need for surgery.

While being evaluated for caliectasis, patients may want to ask about outcomes experienced by other patients who have used the same doctor, and what the prognosis is. It is also advisable to discuss treatment options. There may be several choices available and a doctor should be able to provide information about each available choice, including a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the available choices. Patients should also ask about follow up care, including steps which they may be able to take to avoid a recurrence of the problem.


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Post 3

what's an extrarenal pelvis? I know the kidneys each have their own pelvis but this one beats me.

Post 2

@Fredo - I am thinking from reading this article that caliectasis of the kidney is just a "condition" of the kidney that occurs at the same time and/or as a result of either an infection that is happening or when stones or some type of obstruction is also going on within the kidney.

Post 1

I've studied medical terminology and never heard of this term before which puzzled me. I'm assuming that it's caught up with these other kidney conditions that this article talks about.

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