Kidneys. Structure of the Kidney. Nephron

Kidneys. Structure of the Kidney. Nephron

The Kidneys The kidneys lie against the back muscles in the upper abdomen at about the level of the last thoracic and first three lumbar vertebrae. The right kidney is slightly lower than the left to accommodate the liver. Each kidney is firmly enclosed in a membranous renal capsule made of fibrous connective tissue. In addition, there is a protective layer of fat called the adipose capsule around the organ. An outermost layer of fascia (connective tissue) anchors the kidney to the peritoneum and abdominal wall. The kidneys, as well as the ureters, lie posterior to the peritoneum. Thus, they are not in the peritoneal cavity but rather in an area known as the retroperitoneal space.Blood Supply to the KidneyThe kidney’s blood supply is illustrated in Figure 18-2. Blood is brought to the kidney by a short branch of the abdominal aorta called the renal artery. After entering the kidney, the renal artery subdivides into smaller and smaller branches, which eventually make contact with the...
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