To determine the appearance of artifactual renal duplication in ultrasound (US) imaging, the authors analyzed 22 examples of such duplication in 20 patients. The artifact appeared as a duplication of the collecting system in 18, as a suprarenal mass in three, and as upper-pole cortical thickening in one. It occurred in the left kidney in 15 patients, in the right kidney in three, and bilaterally in two. To determine the frequency of the artifact, 50 additional patients were scanned. It was identified in eight of these patients. Imaging characteristics and the results of in vitro modeling proved the artifact was due to sound beam refraction between the lower pole of the spleen or liver and adjacent fat. This artifact is much more common in the left kidney and occurs more frequently in obese patients. Knowledge of the appearance and cause of this artifact should help radiologists avoid diagnostic errors.