Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Kidney Stone Anatomy

To better understand a kidney stone, it helps to understand the anatomy of the kidneys.

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

Last Updated: Nov 5, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Kidney Stone References
  1. Hall PM. Preventing kidney stones: calcium restriction not warranted. Cleve Clin J Med. 2002 Nov;69(11):885-8. [12430973]
  2. Pietrow PK, Karellas ME. Medical management of common urinary calculi. Am Fam Physician. 2006 Jul 1;74(1):86-94. [16848382]
  3. Portis AJ, Sundaram CP. Diagnosis and initial management of kidney stones. Am Fam Physician. 2001 Apr 1;63(7):1329-38. [11310648]
  4. Rao PN. Imaging for kidney stones. World J Urol. 2004 Nov;22(5):323-7. [15290203]
  5. Taylor EN, Stampfer MJ, Curhan GC. Obesity, weight gain, and the risk of kidney stones. JAMA. 2005 Jan 26;293(4):455-62. [15671430]
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