Surface Anatomy of the Kidneys and Suprarenal Glands

by James Pickering, PhD

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    00:01 In this topic, we're going to look at the kidneys, and the suprarenal, or the adrenal glands.

    00:07 So let's start off by having a look at the location of the kidneys and the suprarenal glands.

    00:14 So here we can see on a posterior view of the human abdomen.

    00:18 We've indicated the vertical levels T11 through to L4.

    00:23 And you can see the right kidney is situated approximately around L1 to L4.

    00:28 And this is slightly lower than the left kidney, which is around T12 to L3 or 4.

    00:34 And that's mostly due to the presence of the liver on the right side, which just forces the kidney down a small little way.

    00:42 If we then have a look on the anterior aspect of the abdomen, we can again see the kidneys and how they're associated with various different structures.

    00:50 Here we can see both the right and the left kidney.

    00:53 And here we can know that they are in fact retroperitoneal organs.

    00:58 That is they lie behind the peritoneum.

    01:01 There's a layer of peritoneum that is going around the abdomen, and these organs are situated posterior to it retroperitoneal organs.

    01:11 They're positioned on the posterior abdominal wall.

    01:13 And you can see they're associated with two muscles that form part of the posterior abdominal wall, as we've seen previously.

    01:20 These are the Quadratus Lumborum more laterally, and then running either side of the vertebral column, we have the psoas major muscle.

    01:28 Two important muscles on the posterior abdominal wall that the kidneys sit on.

    01:33 Centrally, we have the aorta and coming away from the aorta to supply each of the kidneys are the renal arteries and draining the kidneys into the inferior vena cava, we have the renal veins, and here we can see the inferior vena cava.

    01:49 Situated on the superior poles of each kidney, we have two suprovisional or adrenal glands.

    01:55 And these are important hormonal structures that release important hormones into the bloodstream.

    02:01 We'll come back to that later on.

    02:03 Emerging away from each of the kidneys, we have the ureters and these will pass all the way down to the bladder.

    About the Lecture

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

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. T12–L3
    2. T10–L1
    3. T11–L2
    4. T12–L1
    5. T11–L1
    1. The right kidney is usually higher than the left kidney.
    2. They are retroperitoneal organs.
    3. They remove excess water and salts from the body.
    4. They maintain an acid-base balance.
    5. Kidneys are not the same height.
    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 Surface Anatomy of the Kidneys and Suprarenal Glands

     James Pickering, PhD

    James Pickering, PhD

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