What is the anatomy of the kidney relevant to urothelial tumors of the renal pelvis and ureters?

Updated: Aug 07, 2020
  • Author: Kyle A Richards, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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The renal pelvis is the portion of the urinary collecting system formed by the confluence of two or three major calices. The ureter is a 20- to 30-cm tubular structure lying on the psoas muscle. It follows an S-shaped curve, passing medially to the sacroiliac joint and then coursing laterally near the ischial spine before passing medially to penetrate the base of the bladder. It passes through a submucosal tunnel to empty into the bladder.


The renal pelvis and ureter are lined by a transitional epithelium. The next layer is the lamina propria. External to the lamina propria is smooth muscle arranged in a spiral and longitudinal manner. The outermost adventitia is composed of fibrous connective tissue.

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