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The Non-neoplastic Kidney in Tumor Nephrectomy Specimens: What Can it Show and What is Important?

Bonsib, Stephen M. MD; Pei, Ying MD

Advances in Anatomic Pathology: July 2010 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 235-250
doi: 10.1097/PAP.0b013e3181e3c02d
Review Articles

Surgical nephrectomy is a procedure that has been performed for nearly 100 years. In the presence of a normal contralateral kidney, such as in a renal transplant donor or child with Wilms tumor, it is a benign procedure without deleterious consequences on the remaining kidney. However, many adults and some children postnephrectomy will develop chronic kidney disease. The non-neoplastic kidney in tumor resections may harbor a large number of developmental and acquired diseases predictive of this outcome or that convey other medically significant information. Examination of the non-neoplastic kidney is a fertile opportunity to identify these unsuspected conditions that may ultimately dictate the subsequent clinical course and influence the medical care provided. This review discusses the consequences of unilateral and partial nephrectomy, and illustrates many conditions that may be encountered in the non-neoplastic cortex with a discussion of their clinical implications.

Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA

Reprints: Stephen M. Bonsib, MD, Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1541 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71130-3932 (e-mail:

All figures can be viewed online in color at

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.