Kidney nontumor

Author: Nikhil Sangle, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 11 September 2017, last major update March 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Kidney anatomy [title]

Cite this page: Sangle, N. Anatomy. website. Accessed October 23rd, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Posterior abdomen on either side of vertebral column in retroperitoneum
  • Surrounded by fat and loose areolar tissue
  • Superior border is at T12, inferior border is at L3
  • 11 cm long x 5 - 8 cm x 3 cm
  • Weighs 125 - 170 g in males, 115 - 155 g in females
  • Capsule: covers kidney is surrounded by perirenal fat
  • Cortex: outer 1.2 cm of kidney surrounds inner medulla containing pyramids and lacking glomeruli
  • Renal sinus: fatty compartment within confines of kidney not delineated from renal cortex by a fibrous capsule
  • Gerota fascia: fibromembranous tissue surrounding the kidney that separates it from adjacent musculature
  • Ureter ascends into renal pelvis and divides into calyces (2 - 3 major, 12 minor total)
  • Related to a calyx are renal pyramids with apices called papillae
  • Vasculature: receives 25% of cardiac output, 90% goes to cortex, via interlobar, arcuate, interlobular, afferent arterioles, then into glomeruli, efferent arterioles and peritubular vascular network
  • Deeper juxtamedullary glomeruli give rise to vasa recta, which supply outer and inner medulla
  • Since arteries are end vessels, their occlusion causes infarction
  • Glomerular disease causes tubular disease, since efferent arterioles supply tubules
  • Regional lymph nodes: renal hilar, paracaval, aortic and retroperitoneal
Diagrams / tables

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Vertical section

Relation to other organs

Gross images

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Normal adult kidney