Anatomy of the Suprarenal Glands

by James Pickering, PhD

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    00:01 Now, let's talk about the suprarenal or the adrenal glands.

    00:05 And we have two of these that are situated on the superior pole of both of our kidneys.

    00:10 We have the right suprarenal gland here and the left over on this side.

    00:15 Let's have a closer look at the suprarenal glands.

    00:18 Here we can see the right suprarenal gland. It is triangular in shape.

    00:23 It has the inferior vena cava running medially and it has the liver running laterally.

    00:29 If we look at the left suprarenal gland, we can see it's more semilunar in shape, but often this will vary from person to person.

    00:38 We have the spleen situated laterally towards it.

    00:41 And also the pancreas is directly anterior to it.

    00:44 It'll have the stomach position to anterior as well.

    00:48 If we were to draw a section through the suprarenal gland, we can see there's actually two parts.

    00:53 There's an inner medulla and an outer cortex.

    00:57 And this aspects of the adrenal gland is important as it produces hormones as an endocrine organ that go into the blood supply like adrenaline and mineral corticoids.

    01:08 And the adrenal cortex and medulla have an important role to play in supplying those hormones into the blood system.

    01:16 Talking about that we need to then address the arterial supply to the adrenal glands to take the various nutrients to the adrenal gland so they can function and then discharge those hormones into the venous supply.

    01:28 So here we can see that arterial supply to the kidney to the adrenal gland.

    01:34 We're looking at the one on the right, and we can see that we ultimately have a superior super renal artery.

    01:41 This is coming from the inferior phrenic artery.

    01:44 We then have a middle suprarenal artery, and this typically comes from the abdominal aorta itself.

    01:50 Then we have the inferior suprarenal artery, and this comes from the renal artery.

    01:56 So each adrenal gland, each suprarenal gland is supplied by three arteries: superior, middle, and inferior.

    02:05 The superior one comes from the inferior phrenic.

    02:08 The middle one comes directly from the abdominal aorta, and the inferior one comes from the renal artery itself.

    02:17 Now let's look at the venous drainage where all of these hormones will be discharged into.

    02:22 And simply here we can see the left and right renal veins.

    02:25 And here you can see the right suprarenal vein coming from the right adrenal gland.

    02:30 On the left hand side, we can see the left suprarenal vein draining into the left renal vein.

    02:36 What this diagram doesn't really portray is the high number of blood vessels in this space.

    02:42 They are very small, and there are lots of tributaries forming the capillary bed, where the venules and arterioles of these core arteries merge together and allow that capillary bed to function effectively allowing the hormones produced by the adrenal glands to enter into the renal system and be distributed throughout the body.

    03:03 Here we can see the inferior vena cava, which ultimately takes all of these hormones now within the blood back to the heart to be spread across the general circulation.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Anatomy of the Suprarenal Glands by James Pickering, PhD is from the course Anatomy of the Urinary System and Suprarenal Glands.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Inferior phrenic
    2. Aorta
    3. Renal arteries
    4. Celiac trunk
    1. inferior vena cava
    2. Liver
    3. Spleen
    4. Pancreas
    5. Gallbladder
    1. Middle suprarenal
    2. Superior suprarenal
    3. Inferior suprarenal
    4. Inferior vesical

    Author of lecture Anatomy of the Suprarenal Glands

     James Pickering, PhD

    James Pickering, PhD

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