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Anat Cell Biol. 2012 Dec;45(4):282-4. doi: 10.5115/acb.2012.45.4.282. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

The double retro-aortic left renal vein.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.


The renal veins drain the kidney into the inferior vena cava and unite in a variable fashion to form the renal vein. The left renal vein is normally located in front of the aorta. However, the retro-aortic renal vein may course posterior to the aorta due to embryological developmental anomalies. During educational dissection, a rare variation of the left renal vein was found in a 66-year old male cadaver. The double retro-aortic renal veins coursed behind the aorta to drain into the inferior vena cava. The superior retro-aortic renal vein drained into the inferior vena cava at the lower border of the L2 vertebra, and the inferior retro-aortic renal vein drained into the inferior vena cava at the upper border of the L4 vertebra. Such a variant is rare, and is a clinically important observation which should be noted by vascular surgeons, oncologists, and traumatologists.


Renal veins; Retro-aortic; Variation

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