Kidneys and Suprarenal Glands: Introduction

by James Pickering, PhD

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    00:01 In this lecture we are going to look at the kidneys and the suprarenal glands.

    00:07 So we will start off by looking at the position of the kidneys and the superarenal glands and how that position is measured on to the surface of the abdomen.

    00:17 We will then explore their gross anatomy by looking at the position within the abdomen and their relations to other organs. We will look at the kidney segments and their specific blood supply.

    00:29 We will then look at the internal structure of the kidney and the suprarenal glands.

    00:33 Look how the renal pelvis is formed and that gives rise to the ureters and we will look at few constrictions that they have along their course. We will then look at the suprarenal gland vasculature because that can be quite complex. So the kidneys are paired retroperitoneal organs located against the posterior abdominal wall.

    00:57 And they are really important in removing excess water, salts and waste products from the body.

    01:04 They are important in that they maintain the correct balance of nutrients and chemicals. So maintaining homeostasis, the internal environment.

    01:15 The suprarenal glands also play an important role and that's in supporting the blood pressure and releasing adrenaline. We will explore that through this lecture.

    01:26 So let's have a look at the surface anatomy of the kidneys and the suprarenal glands.

    01:32 Well here, the best way to view the kidneys is posteriorly.

    01:36 As they are located against the posterior abdominal wall either side of the lumbar vertebrae really extending from T12 and L3 extending down from about T12 to L3. And we can see that its sitting against ribs 11 and 12. So if someone was to damage the ribs, they could then puncture the kidneys. So we can see where the two kidneys are positioned.

    02:04 This anterior view with the all other organs in place, it's practically impossible to see the kidneys.

    02:10 But again if we look at the posterior view we can see both of the kidneys here again associated with ribs 11 and 12 and sitting against vertebrae 12 T12, L1, L2 and pass about 3.

    02:24 The right kidney is somewhat lower than the left because of the liver. The presence of the liver just pushing the right kidney down at touch.

    02:33 So some key facts about these organs. The kidneys, as I have mentioned they're paired retoperitoneal organ located between the transverse processes of T12 and L3.

    02:45 It's important in removing excess water, salts and waste products.

    02:49 And maintaining the correct level of nutrients and chemicals in the blood, maintaining this acid-base balance and maintaining blood pressure by regulating the amount of water we have within our body.

    03:03 They pass urine to the bladder via the ureters and then within the bladder, it's stored prior to micturition.

    03:11 Each of the kidney is surrounded by a tough renal capsule and considerable fat, perinephric and paranephric fat which we will see. And each of the kidneys is divide into 5 segments, with each of these segments supplied by a segmental renal artery.

    03:28 The suprarenal glands, which we will explore towards the end of the lecture; these are located on the superomedial aspect of each kidney. So if we return the superomedial aspect, we can see the suprarenal glands are going to be located around about here on both of those kidneys. And these are intimately associated with the superior holes of the kidney. They have two parts, an outer cortex and an inner medulla.

    03:55 And as we will see these are highly vascular glands.

    03:59 So this is an in situ cartoon of the kidneys. We can remind ourselves of what we looking at. We have got the aorta running down the midline here.

    04:08 To the right of the aorta we have got the inferior vena cava. And we can see we have got some parts of the quadratus lumborum muscle, we have got psoas muscle here We can also see psoas muscle here we can see the part of the diaphragm around here. We can see where the oesophagus has been cut as it passes towards the stomach. And we can see that the kidneys have this substantial amount of fat surrounding them.

    04:37 And the supromedial aspects of each kidneys, we see we have the adrenal glands.

    04:42 So that's a general overview. They are located between about T12 and L3. So this will be T12 and this will L3. That's their approximate position sitting in what's known as the paravertebral gutter; just some depressions either side of the vertebral column.

    05:02 Posteriorly as I alluded to in the previous slide, there is a series of relations, there is some nerves, muscles subcostal nerve, we can see Iliohypogastric, ilioinguinal and these are passing down here subcostal, ilionguinal, iliohypogastric, we can see those posteriorly to the kidney. We can see it is sitting on some muscles: the diaphragm, the quadratus lumborum.

    05:26 It's also just sitting lateral to psoas muscle which we can see here.

    05:32 Suprarenal glands sit on the superomedial border and there is intensive arterial supply from the aorta.

    05:39 Substantial renal arteries pass across to the kidneys and the suprarenal glands also have considerable arterial input as we'll see.

    05:48 Both of these organs, the suprarenal glands and the kidneys, are supplied by considerable fats and this helps to hold the kidneys in position.

    05:59 The parietal peritoneum anchors them to the posterior body wall.

    06:03 They don't have a mesentery to suspend them. So they're surrounded by the fats which provide them warmth, provide some protection and it anchors them to the posterior abdominal wall.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Kidneys and Suprarenal Glands: Introduction by James Pickering, PhD is from the course Abdomen.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. T12–L3
    2. T10–L1
    3. T11–L2
    4. T12–L1
    5. T11–L1
    1. The left kidney is usually lower than the right one.
    2. They are retroperitoneal organs.
    3. They remove excess water and salts from the body.
    4. They maintain an acid-base balance.
    5. The right kidney is usually lower than the left one.
    1. Ureters
    2. Subcostal nerve
    3. Iliohypogastric nerve
    4. Diaphragm
    5. Quadratus lumborum muscle
    1. Superomedial
    2. Superolateral
    3. Medial
    4. Lateral
    5. Posterior

    Author of lecture Kidneys and Suprarenal Glands: Introduction

     James Pickering, PhD

    James Pickering, PhD

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