Renal sinus: what the radiologist needs to know
Type:Educational Electronic Presentation
Authors: Joana Granadas, Sérgio Ferreira
Keywords:Renal sinus; Kidney;
Educational objective

This presentation aims to revisit the anatomy of the renal sinus and its constituents, to review the pathologic processes that can affect the renal sinus as well as discuss the more appropriate imaging modalities for the assessment of these conditions.

Topic Review

It is less frequent to come upon renal sinus disorders than renal parenchyma diseases. The diagnosis may be challenging due to unfamiliarity with these conditions.

The renal sinus is a small compartment of the kidney that is bordered by renal parenchyma laterally and communicates with the perinephric space. Although it corresponds to a small compartment that is predominantly filled with fat, it also contains major branches of the renal artery and renal vein, major and minor calyces of the collecting system (lined with transitional epithelium), lymphatic channels and nerve fibers. Any of these tissues can be the source of different pathologic entities. Renal parenchymal and retroperitoneal abnormalities may also affect the renal sinus.

Consequently, the renal sinus may be involved by a broad spectrum of diseases, ranging from congenital to vascular, inflammatory and... more

A: Contrast-enhanced coronal CT image shows a hypertrophied column of Bertin in the left kidney. B: Non-contrast-enhanced axial CT image shows lipomatosis of both renal sinus.
Axial CT images before contrast administration (A) and postcontrast in the corticomedullary (B), nephrographic (C) and excretory (D) phases demonstrate cysts in the left renal sinus.


The renal sinus is a small compartment of the kidney but it contains many important structures and can be affected by many intrinsic and extrinsic pathologic conditions. Recognizing the imaging findings of these conditions is essential to make a prompt and confident diagnosis.

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