The Ureter pp 647-652 | Cite as

Retrocaval Ureter: Diagnosis and Management

  • Hernan Carrion


A retrocaval ureter is a congenital anomaly in which the ureter passes behind and is compressed by the inferior vena cava. During fetal life there are three venous channels composed of the postcardinal, subcardinal, and supracardinal veins. The supracardinal vein lies dorsal to the ureter, and will form most of the infrarenal segment of the inferior vena cava, normally. If the subcardinal vein that lies ventral to the ureter persists and becomes the infrarenal segment of the vena cava, then the ureter remains behind the definitive vena cava, but lies anterior to the posterior cardinal vein (iliac vein). Consequently, the majority of retrocaval ureters occur because of the persistence of the ventral venous element and the disappearance of the dorsal element. Very rarely, as in one of our cases, both dorsal and ventral elements persist simultaneously, so that the retrocaval ureter actually passes between two portions of the vena cava, i.e., the anterior and posterior segments.


Renal Pelvis Situs Inversus Ureteropelvic Junction Retrograde Pyelography Dismember Pyeloplasty 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1981

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  • Hernan Carrion

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