The renal cortex is the large section of functional tissue that essentially gives the kidney its shape; its the outermost layer, only the renal capsule is more to the edge than the cortex.
There are hundreds of variables to this finding; in a lot of patients, the cortex appears thinned but renal function remains normal and stable.
In a larger subset of patients, cortical thinning can result from frequent of chronic inflammation, like glomerulosclerosis or glomerulonephritis. And the underlying causes for those conditions could be a wide variety of things.
It would be up to the doc to put the imaging results together with the patient's blood and urine test numbers and entire history and then figure out what the real cause might be.
So in and of itself, cortical thinning is not a 'disease'; it is caused by something else, but right now we don't have enough history to base a guess on. It's really a symptom; just an unusual finding on an ultrasound. I'm afraid that you need to wait on the doc to get any real answers.
In any case, it's probably not immediately dangerous, and a month's delay will probably not change the overall condition of the patient much, if at all.
Thanks for all the info. Her left kidney only functions 30% since she was 3 yrs old. She is 19 yrs old now. She had a huge reconstructive bladder surgery and on her left ureter tube due to alot of uti and reflex, so that is why her left kidney only functions less than the right. All of the uti damaged her kidney and tube. She was having alot of right flank pain 2 wks ago so the drs did cultures on her urine which came back negative and that is why they did a renal ultrasound and ct scan. That is when we got the results in the mail with cortical thinning of left kidney and her dr out for the month on vacation. They told her if she wanted to she can see one of his partners to get more answers instead of her waiting till her dr gets back in town. Just wanted to let you know that she was also diagnosed with Crohns Disease 2 yrs ago too. Thanks
OK. It's up to you whether you see the partner or not, but if it's going to nag at you for that long, it might be good to have a talk with a doc.
The reflux and infections might have contributed to the cortical thinning, but one might expect to see greater thinning on one side than the other side. (Not always though.) Crohns is decidedly inflammatory, and though it is not yet totally proved, it is potentially autoimmune in nature. So there is some possibility that any autoimmunity is also have a somewhat less dramatic effect on renal tissues. That's going to be hard if not impossible to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt, but it's a random possibility.
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