A circumcaval ureter (or retrocaval ureter) is a developmental anomaly of the inferior vena cava. Unfortunately both terms suggest that the ureter is at fault, whereas in reality it is the IVC.
This abnormality is congenital.
Many patients with this anomaly are asymptomatic. Depending on the degree of compression patients may develop partial right ureteral obstruction or recurrent urinary tract infections due to urinary stasis.
This abnormality occurs as a result of the right supracardinal system failing to develop normally. The right posterior cardinal vein persists and therefore ends up passing infront of the ureter.
With one reported exception, the anomaly always occurs on the right side, as this is the side of the normal IVC.
The proximal ureter courses posterior to the IVC, then emerges to the right of the aorta, coming to lie anterior to the right iliac vessels.
Treatment and prognosis
If treatment is required, surgical relocation of the ureter anterior to the IVC can be performed.
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- 1. Bass JE, Redwine MD, Kramer LA et-al. Spectrum of congenital anomalies of the inferior vena cava: cross-sectional imaging findings. Radiographics. 20 (3): 639-52. Radiographics (full text) - Pubmed citation
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