The two kidneys are palpated separately. It might be easier to palpate both the kidneys by standing on the right of the patient (in right-handed doctor)
- You can sit down if needed for your hands to be at the level with abdomen
- Now place your right hand over the exposed anterior abdomen at the right lumbar quadrant
- Place your left hand on their back at the corresponding region
- Gently press the right hand hoping to move the kidney to hit your left hand at the back
- Now press the left hand to feel it in your right palm.
- This is the ballotment test
- You can also feel the left kidney from the left side of the patient.
Causes of palpable kidneys
Occasionally the kidney may be felt.
- Unilateral hydronephrosis
- Wilms tumour
- Polycystic kidneys
- Bilateral hydronephrosis