Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.
The Sum of Different Parts
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.
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- 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
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 medulla has several cone-shaped tissue masses called renal pyramids; they sort of look like the Pyramids of Giza lying on their side. The very tip of the Pyramid of Giza is known as the capstone. The capstone of the renal pyramid (the tip of the renal pyramid) is called the renal papilla, and it helps excrete urine formed in the cortex and medulla of the kidney into the renal pelvis.
The Renal Pelvis
The renal pelvis is a structure that collects urine formed in the kidney and channels it into the ureter. The ureter is located in the renal hilum, which is a groove in the kidney where the ureter, renal artery, vein, and nerves are located.
So, there you have it. Some of the most important structures of the kidney have been laid out. As you can clearly tell, while the kidney looks like one solid, giant, kidney bean, it's actually made up of a collection of parts, just like your body.
Like the outer fleshy part of the avocado, the outer portion of the kidney, located in between the renal capsule and the renal medulla, is called the renal cortex. Like our avocado pit, located deeper to the fleshy part of the avocado is the inner portion of the kidney, called the renal medulla. In the renal medulla are a series of cone-shaped tissue masses called renal pyramids. The tip of the renal pyramid is called the renal papilla, and it helps excrete urine formed in the cortex and medulla of the kidney into the renal pelvis.
The renal pelvis, therefore, is a structure that collects urine formed in the kidney and channels it into the ureter. The ureter of each kidney is located in the renal hilum, which is a groove in the kidney where the ureter, renal artery, vein, and nerves are located.
After this lesson, you should be able to describe the structures that make up the kidneys and explain their functions.
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The Kidney: Major Divisions & Structures
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