Renal calyx

Renal calyx

Kidney, with major and minor calyces labeled near bottom.

Precursor Ureteric bud
Latin calices renales
MeSH A05.810.453.537.503

Anatomical terminology

The renal calyces are chambers of the kidney through which urine passes. The minor calyces surround the apex of the renal pyramids. Urine formed in the kidney passes through a renal papilla at the apex into the minor calyx; two or three minor calyces converge to form a major calyx, through which urine passes before continuing through the renal pelvis into the ureter.


Peristalsis of the smooth muscle originating in pace-maker cells originating in the walls of the calyces propels urine through the renal pelvis and ureters to the bladder. The initiation is caused by the increase in volume that stretches the walls of the calyces. This causes them to fire impulses which stimulate rhythmical contraction and relaxation (peristalsis). Parasympathetic innervation enhances the peristalsis while sympathetic inhibits.

Clinical significance

Example of a "staghorn" kidney stone projecting into the renal calyces

A "Staghorn calculus" is a kidney stone that may extend into the renal calyces.

A renal diverticulum is diverticulum of renal calyces.[1][2]

See also


  1. Krzeski, T; Witeska, A; Borówka, A; Pypno, W (September 1981). "Diverticula of renal calyces". International Urology and Nephrology. 13 (3): 231–235. doi:10.1007/BF02082420.
  2. Chong, TW; Bui, MH; Fuchs, GJ (Nov 2000). "Calyceal diverticula. Ureteroscopic management.". The Urologic clinics of North America. 27 (4): 647–54. doi:10.1016/s0094-0143(05)70114-2. PMID 11098763.
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