Ureters - Anatomy & Physiology

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Histology section of a normal ureter (© RVC 2008)
Histology section of a normal ureter (© RVC 2008)

The ureters convey urine from the renal pelvis to the bladder. There are two of them, one for each kidney. The ureters run retroperitoneally along the roof of the abdominal cavity and then enters the pelvis. Once entering the pelvis it moves medially in the broad ligament of the female or the genital fold of the male. It ends at its junction on the dorsolateral surface of the bladder within the lateral ligament.


  • It has an internal mucosa layer
    • It is formed from transitional epithelium
    • Protects against urine
  • Followed by a muscularis layer
    • This is well developed for peristalsis, though can enter into spasm on irritation
  • And finally an external adventitia

Junction with the Bladder

  • The ureter enters the bladder obliquely near the neck of the bladder
  • Runs between the muscular layers and mucosa
  • This stops back flow when the bladder is full as increasing pressure in the urinary bladder
  • They open through 2 slits on a raised "hillock"

Movement of Urine

The movement of urine along the ureters is achieved by peristalsis which is powered by locally regulated smooth muscle. This maintains a low pressure in the renal pelvis.

Vascular Supply

Renal pelvis and proximal ureter
Renal artery
Distal ureter
Cranial vesicular artery and the vaginal (female) / prostatic (male)

Lymphatic Drainage

Lumbar lymph nodes


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Canine Intravenous Ureterogram Radiographic Anatomy (I)
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