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Renal vein valves: a prevalence, microanatomical and histological study

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In the modern era of robotic renal procedures and diagnostics, an even more detailed anatomical understanding than hitherto is necessary. Valves of the renal veins (RVV) have been underemphasized and have been disputed by some authors, and few textbooks describe them. The current anatomical study was performed to address such shortcomings in the literature.


One hundred renal veins were studied in fifty adult formalin-fixed cadavers. Renal veins were removed from the abdomen after sectioning them flush with their entrance to the renal hilum. The inferior vena cava was then incised longitudinally and opened, and RVV were examined grossly and histologically. A classification scheme was developed and applied to our findings.


Nineteen RVVs were observed in the fifty cadavers (38%). Four (8%) valves were found on right sides and fifteen (30%) on left sides. The valves were seen as cord/band-like, folds, and single and double leaflets. Histologically, they were all extensions of the tunica intima.


On the basis of our study, RVV are not uncommon. They were more common on left sides, and on both sides, they were found within approximately one centimeter of the junction of the inferior vena cava and renal vein. Although the function of such valves cannot be inferred from this anatomical study, the structures of the Single leaflet valve (TS2) and Double leaflet valve (TS3) valves suggest they could prevent venous reflux from the IVC into the kidney.

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The authors sincerely thank those who donated their bodies to science so that anatomical research could be performed. Results from such research can potentially increase mankind’s overall knowledge that can then improve patient care. Therefore, these donors and their families deserve our highest gratitude. The authors state that every effort was made to follow all local and international ethical guidelines and laws that pertain to the use of human donated bodies in anatomical research [10].


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Authors and Affiliations



Conceptualization: DS, JI,ML,RST. Data acquisition: JJC, DS, AC,EL Data analysis or interpretation: DS,RST,JI, ML. Drafting of the manuscript: DS, JJC, AC, RST. Critical revision of the manuscript: JI, MK, RST. Approval of the final version of the manuscript: all authors.

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Correspondence to Devendra Shekhawat.

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Our institution does not require an Institutional Review Board approval of non-patient/living human studies. Thus, as our study used a cadaver, approval was not required.

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Shekhawat, D., Chaiyamoon, A., Cardona, J.J. et al. Renal vein valves: a prevalence, microanatomical and histological study. Surg Radiol Anat 46, 535–541 (2024).

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