Surface anatomy of both kidneys on the back

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Viewed posteriorly the right kidney has its upper edge opposite the 11th dorsal spine and the lower edge of the 11th rib. Its lower edge is opposite the upper edges of L3 spine and vertebral body and about 4 cm. (1 1/2 in.) above the highest point of the crest of the ileum, which is opposite the fourth spine.The left kidney is usually 1.25 cm. (1/2 in.) higher, but being a little longer than the right, its lower limit may not be quite that much higher. The kidney is slightly lower in women and children than in men. The inner border reaches 10 cm. (4 in. ) and the hilum 4 to 5 cm. (1 1/2 to 2 in.)

Notice that the left kidney is higher (highest border T11 lowest border L2) whereas the right kidney is lower (highest border T12 lowest border L3). The right kidney is less enclosed by the rib cage, because of the presence of right lobe of liver above it, therefore pushing it down. So, the right kidney is palpable during inspiration (moves down by 1 inch).

The renal angle as seen in the image, is located between the

-lower border of the 12th rib
-& lateral border of the erector spinae muscle

Left kidney related to 11th & 12th rib. Right kidney related to only 12th rib.

Also to indicate the position of the kidney from the back, the parallellogram of Morris is used; two vertical lines are drawn, the first 2.5 cm., the second 9.5 cm. from the middle line; the parallelogram is completed by two horizontal lines drawn respectively at the levels of the tips of the spinous process of the eleventh thoracic and the lower border of the spinous process of the third lumbar vertebra. The hilum is 5 cm. from the middle line at the level of the spinous process of the first lumbar vertebra.

  Back of lumbar region, showing surface markings for kidneys, ureters, and spleen. The lower portions of the lung and pleura are shown on the right side.

 

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