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Anatomic variations of the renal vessels: focus on the precaval right renal artery

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The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of precaval right renal artery and to investigate the distribution of renal arteries and veins. We discuss a theory of development of renal vascular variants. We retrospectively reviewed 120 arterial phase contrast material-enhanced spiral computerized tomography scans of the abdomen (1- to 2-mm section thickness) performed during a two-month period. Forty percent of the study group (48 patients) had one artery and one vein on each side, with typical course. There was a 9.17% prevalence of precaval right renal artery: 10 patients had a lower pole accessory artery in precaval position and one patient had the main and the accessory arteries that pass anterior to the inferior vena cava. In these cases, associated variations of renal vessels were higher than in the patients without precaval artery variant. There were multiple arteries in 28.3% of the right kidneys and in 26.7% of the left ones. Variants of the right renal vein consisted in multiple veins in 20% (24 cases). We detected no case of multiple left renal veins, but we described variations of its course (circum- or retroaortic vein) in 9.17% (11 cases). Twenty-six patients (21.7%) had associated variations of the renal pedicle. The current technical support allows for a minimally invasive study of vessels anatomy. In our study the prevalence of a precaval right renal artery appears to be higher than previously reported (9.17%). Knowledge on anatomical variations of right renal artery and associated renal vessels variations has major clinical implications.

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We thank Caroline Munzer for the statistical analysis.

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Correspondence to Ourdia Bouali.

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Bouali, O., Labarre, D., Molinier, F. et al. Anatomic variations of the renal vessels: focus on the precaval right renal artery. Surg Radiol Anat 34, 441–446 (2012).

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