Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Urinary Tract Infection Kidney Anatomy

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

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: Jul 8, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Urinary Tract Infection Kidney References
  1. Bloomfield P, Hodson EM, Craig JC. Antibiotics for acute pyelonephritis in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jan 25;(1):CD003772. [15674914]
  2. Efstathiou SP, Pefanis AV, Tsioulos DI, Zacharos ID, Tsiakou AG, Mitromaras AG, Mastorantonakis SE, Kanavaki SN, Mountokalakis TD. Acute pyelonephritis in adults: prediction of mortality and failure of treatment. Arch Intern Med. 2003 May 26;163(10):1206-12. [12767958]
  3. Ramakrishnan K, Scheid DC. Diagnosis and management of acute pyelonephritis in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Mar 1;71(5):933-42. [15768623]
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