Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 17 December 2020


So the blood supply to the kidneys is by the renal arteries and veins. It's supplied by the renal artery and drained by the renal vein.

So what we're looking at here is the abdominal aorta and we've got the inferior vena cava. You can see the renal arteries coming off the abdominal aorta just below the level of the superior mesenteric artery.  This trunk here coming off the abdominal aorta is the superior mesentery artery and just above that, we have the coeliac axis (which for some reason has a little bit of blue in it, but it is an artery).


The renal arteries come off just below the level of the superior mesenteric artery laterally off the aorta. It's important to note that the right renal artery is actually longer than the left.  If I rotate the model around, you can see that the right renal artery has to pass behind the inferior vena cava, it’s a little bit longer than the left one, which doesn't have to travel this distance.


Just as the arteries are approaching the hilum of the kidney, they actually split into two branches.  You’ve got an anterior and a posterior branch. This is just a little diagram to show the anterior and posterior branches. You can see this split here of the renal arteries as it approaches the hilum. It's important to note that.


The renal veins sit in front of the renal arteries. It's opposite to the arteries.  The left renal vein is longer because it obviously has to pass in front of the aorta.  The left renal vein passes in front of the abdominal aorta and underneath the superior mesenteric artery. And the right renal vein is a little bit shorter because it doesn't have to travel across the aorta.


The order of the structures passing into the hilum from anterior to posterior is vein, artery and ureter.