Retrocaval ureter is a congenital anomaly which arises during the embryonal period when the cardinal and subcardinal veins consolidate to form the vena cava. The result is that a ureter is displaced so that, in its course to the urinary bladder, it encircles the vena cava.
While the anomaly is rare, it is becoming increasingly apparent that it is less rare than previously supposed. Pick and Anson1 reviewed the literature in 1940, reporting 26 cases to which they added another. Of the 26 cases, only 8 were surgical and in none was the diagnosis made before operation. In four of the eight nephrectomy was performed, possibly unnecessarily, since the preoperative diagnosis was unknown. In 1948 McElhinney and Dorsey2 reviewed the literature and reported 36 cases to which they added another diagnosed before surgical intervention, bringing the total to 37 cases. It is interesting that 10 additional cases have
SCHMIDT CR, HUEBERT DW, BEAZELL JM. RETROCAVAL URETER. AMA Arch Surg. 1951;62(2):299-302. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1951.01250030304013