Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Injured Genitourinary Tract Anatomy

To better understand genitourinary injury, it helps to understand the anatomy of the genitourinary tract and kidneys.

Kidney Anatomy
The kidneys are located in the back of the abdomen, below the ribcage and on either side of the spine. Each kidney weighs about 1/4 pound (0.6 kg) and is about the size of a fist. The kidneys filter waste from the bloodstream and produce urine. The kidneys also regulate the salt and water balance for the body.


  • Kidney
  • Kidney cross section
  • Kidney cross section close-up
  • Kidney collecting system
  • Genitourinary system

Bladder Anatomy
Urine flows from the kidneys, through the ureters, and into the bladder. As the bladder fills, the bladder wall stretches. This sensation results in the urge to urinate. The act of urination causes the bladder to empty into the urethra. Urine flows through the urethra and exits the body.

Anatomy of the bladder:
  • Female bladder
  • Male bladder and prostate

The bladder holds 10 to 20 ounces (300 to 600 ml) of urine.

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Injured Genitourinary Tract References
  1. Bagshaw SM, Bellomo R. Early diagnosis of acute kidney injury. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2007 Dec;13(6):638-44. [17975383]
  2. Hsieh CH, Chen RJ, Fang JF, et al. Diagnosis and management of bladder injury by trauma surgeons. Am J Surg. 2002 Aug;184(2):143-7. [12169358]
  3. Morey AF, Iverson AJ, Swan A, Harmon WJ, Spore SS, Bhayani S, Brandes SB. Bladder rupture after blunt trauma: guidelines for diagnostic imaging. J Trauma. 2001 Oct;51(4):683-6. [11586159]
  4. Ostrzenski A, Ostrzenska KM. Bladder injury during laparoscopic surgery. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1998 Mar;53(3):175-80. [9513988]
  5. Sharples EJ. Acute kidney injury: stimulation of repair. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2007 Dec;13(6):652-5. [17975385]
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