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Kidney non-tumor


Reviewers: Nikhil Sangle, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 4 April 2012, last major update March 2012
Copyright: (c) 2003-2012, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● 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
● 11cm long x 5-8cm x 3cm
● Weighs 125-170g in males, 115-155g 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’s fascia: fibromembranous tissue surrounding the kidney that separates it from adjacent musculature
● Ureter ascends into renal pelvis, 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


Vertical section

Relation to other organs

Gross images

Normal adult kidney

Virtual slides

Normal kidney

Additional references

Wikipedia, eMedicine, WebMD

End of Kidney non-tumor > Anatomy

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