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Kidney Anatomy

Our extensive collection of urinary system illustrations include beautifully detailed illustrations of the kidney, both healthy and diseased.

Diseased Kidney


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Kidney Anatomy

Kidneys are the major organs of the urinary system and are responsible for filtering out waste products from the blood, and excreting them out of the body via urine. Urine moves from the kidney to the bladder via ureters, and from the bladder out of the body via the urethra. The urethra of women is much shorter than for men, as it stretches only from the bladder to near the clitoris, whereas in men it stretches from the bladder to the tip of the penis.

Position and Structure

The kidneys lie behind the peritoneum in the abdomen, either side of the vertebral column. The left kidney is slightly more superior than the right kidney because the liver is larger on the right side of the body. The ribs and muscles of the back protect the kidney.

The kidneys are bean-shaped and encased in layers of fascia and fat. The outer layer is pararenal fat, then renal fascia, perirenal fat and the renal capsule. Internally, the kidneys consist of renal pyramids, triangular shapes that comprise the medulla. Other anatomy includes the minor and major calyx and renal pelvis.


 Kidney Transplant

Kidney stones form when chemicals in the urine become concentrated and form a solid. The four main types of stones are calcium stones, struvite stones, uric acid stones and cystine stones. The stones start to travel down the ureter, which causes pain and can cause blockages. Symptoms of kidney stones include blood in the urine, increase in passing urine and pain, sometimes severe, in the sides and lower abdomen and lower back. Chronic kidney disease is a common condition that occurs when getting older. It is more common in people of African or South Asian descent. It is usually symptomless in early stages, but in later stages can cause tiredness, swollen ankles and blood in the urine. There is no treatment for CKD but the symptoms can be treated and the progression of the disease slowed down. In around 2% of cases, kidney failure will result from CKD.


Please see our entire selection of 
Kidney Anatomy