Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Renal Impairment Anatomy

To better understand kidney disease, 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: Dec 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Renal Impairment References
  1. Bailie GR, Uhlig K, Levey AS. Clinical practice guidelines in nephrology: evaluation, classification, and stratification of chronic kidney disease. Pharmacotherapy. 2005 Apr;25(4):491-502. [15977910]
  2. Boydstun II. Chronic kidney disease in adolescents. Adolesc Med Clin. 2005 Feb;16(1):185-99, xii. [15844391]
  3. Snively CS, Gutierrez C. Chronic kidney disease: prevention and treatment of common complications. Am Fam Physician. 2004 Nov 15;70(10):1921-8. [15571058]
  4. Toto RD. Management of hypertensive chronic kidney disease: role of calcium channel blockers. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2005 Apr;7(4 Suppl 1):15-20. [15858398]
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