Copyright

The Kidney: Major Divisions & Structures

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

The kidney is a complex organ that helps the human body function properly by removing urine and excess fluid, and also by regulating minerals and removing waste from the blood. Learn about the functions of the kidney's major divisions and structures including the cortex, medulla, renal pyramid, renal papilla, and renal pelvis. Updated: 08/26/2021

The Sum of Different Parts

Cross section of a human kidney
Kidney Cross Section

When you look at a human being, you see this one solid entity. However, if we just stop and think for a second, what we actually see is a combination of parts fitting together to make a whole. In the case of the human body, there are the eyes, ears, and nose; the legs, arms, and hair; and then, not to mention all of the things we can't see inside, like the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

All of these structures combine together to make up a single human being. In a very similar fashion, every single organ in your body looks like one unit, one solid entity. However, if we look really closely, we'll find out that they have many different pieces fitting together to make one functional unit. Let's find out how this works in the context of our kidneys.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Blood Supply of the Kidneys

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 The Sum of different Parts
  • 1:05 Renal
  • 1:45 Renal Cortex and Renal Medulla
  • 2:37 Renal Pyramid and…
  • 3:07 Renal Pelvis
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Renal

Many different parts associated with our kidneys have a sort of nom de plume. Think of our kidneys as writers masquerading as someone else. Our kidneys use the word 'renal' to refer to themselves when 'in disguise.' The reality of the situation is the word 'renal' refers to something that has to do with our kidneys. Hence, the kidneys can try and hide their identity under the word 'renal,' but you'll never be tricked again now that you know this little tidbit of information. It's important you remember this as we move on in our lesson.

Cortex and Medulla

Our kidneys are multilayered structures, kind of like avocados. If you've ever sliced an avocado in half, you'd have a middle layer, the avocado pit, and then a surrounding outer layer that is the edible part of the avocado. Likewise, your kidneys have an outer and an inner layer. The outer portion of the kidney, located in between the renal capsule and the renal medulla, is called the renal cortex. The renal cortex is like the fleshy part of the avocado.

Deeper to the renal cortex, like our avocado pit, is the inner portion of the kidney, called the renal medulla. The renal capsule, if you were wondering, is like the avocado's skin. It's a very thin layer covering the kidney on the outside.

Renal Pyramid and Renal Papilla

The renal papilla is the capstone of the renal pyramids.
Renal Papilla

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account