Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Cardiovascular System

Capsular Branches of Renal Artery (Right)

Rami capsularis arteriae renalis

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: Renal artery primarily.

Course: Passes around the external surface of the kidney then penetrating the renal capsule.

Branches: Perirenal, perforating, and anastomotic branches.

Supplied Structures: Primarily perirenal fat but may serve as a source of collateral circulation for the kidney parenchyma via penetrating branches.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free


There are three sets of capsular arteries: superior, middle, and inferior (Boijsen, 1959). For the most part, capsular arteries typically arise from the renal artery before dividing into anterior and posterior divisions. However, they may arise from other neighboring arteries such as the abdominal aorta, inferior suprarenal artery, or gonadal artery. Additionally, there may be multiple arteries from multiple sources.


Since the capsular artery is an extrarenal artery, it does not penetrate the parenchyma of the kidney via the hilar aspect. Instead, it passes around the external surface of the kidney before penetrating the renal capsule.


The capsular branches give rise to several arteries, including:

- branches to the perirenal fat;

- perforating branches that penetrate the renal capsule and anastomose with branches of interlobular arteries;

- anastomotic branches between superior, middle, and inferior renal capsular arteries that provide an arterial arcade along the lateral margin of the kidney.

All of these arterial branches are freely interconnected with each other (Meyers et al., 1967).

Supplied Structures

The capsular branches supply the perirenal fat capsule and provides a source of collateral circulation with the arterial supply of the renal parenchyma primarily served by the intrarenal arterial system.

List of Clinical Correlates

- The capsular artery complex can serve as an important source of collateral circulation in an ischemic kidney (Meyers et al., 1967).


Boijsen, E. (1959) 'Angiographic studies of the anatomy of single and multiple renal arteries', Acta Radiol Suppl, 183, pp. 1-135.

Meyers, M. A., Friedenberg, R. M., King, M. C. and Meng, C.-H. (1967) 'The Significance of the Renal Capsular Arteries', The British Journal of Radiology, 40(480), pp. 949-956.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Renal Artery

ScienceDirect image

Renal artery dissection may be a primary renal artery process limited to the main renal artery or its intrarenal branches or may be from extension of an aortic dissection.

Explore on ScienceDirectopens in new tab/window

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy