6-5. THE KIDNEY
(1) The kidneys have the same shape and color as kidney beans, but are
about 8-10 cm (3"-3 1/2") in length.
(2) Each kidney has a fibrous capsule. On the concave, medial side of each
kidney, there is a notch called the hilus. Through the hilus, pass the ureter and the
NAVL (nerve, artery, vein, and lymphatic), which service the kidney.
Figure 6-1. The human urinary system.
(3) Each kidney is attached to the posterior wall of the abdominal cavity, just
above the waistline level. Each is held in place by special fascia and fat.
b. Gross Internal Structure. If we compare the structure of the kidney with that
of a cantaloupe (muskmelon), the renal cortex would correspond to the hard rind, the
renal medulla would correspond with the edible flesh of the melon, while the renal sinus
would correspond to the hollow center (after the seeds have been removed. The
medulla consists of pyramids with their bases at the cortex and forming peaks, papillae,
which empty into the sinus.
PAPILLA = pimple, nipple
See Figure 6-2 for a section of the kidney showing the inner structure.