General Organization of the Kidneys and Urinary Tract
The two kidneys lie on the posterior wall of the abdomen, outside the peritoneal cavity (Figure 26–2). Each kidney of the adult human weighs about 150 grams and is about the size of a clenched fist. The medial side of each kidney contains an indented region called thehilum through which pass the renal artery and vein, lymphatics, nerve supply, and ureter, which carries the final urine from the kidney to the bladder, where it is stored until emptied. The kidney is sur-rounded by a tough, fibrous capsule that protects its delicate inner structures.
If the kidney is bisected from top to bottom, the two major regions that can be visualized are the outer cortex and the inner region referred to as the medulla. The medulla is divided into multiple cone-shaped masses of tissue called renal pyramids. The base of each pyramid originates at the border between the cortex and medulla and terminates in the papilla, which projects into the space of therenal pelvis, a funnel-shaped continuation of the upper end of the ureter. The outer border of the pelvis is divided into open-ended pouches called major calyces that extend downward and divide into minor calyces, which collect urine from the tubules of eachpapilla. The walls of the calyces, pelvis, and ureter contain contractile elements that propel the urine toward the bladder, where urine is stored until it is emptied by micturition.
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