ureter (yŏrēˈtər) [key], thick-walled tube that conveys urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder. It is approximately 10 in. (25.4 cm) long, with the upper half located in the abdomen and the lower half in the pelvic region. Urine is transported down this tube under the impetus of gravity assisted by contractions of the smooth muscles that line the ureteral walls. A blocked ureter can result from congenital abnormality, a tumor, or the formation of kidney stones. Blockage may require surgery to prevent loss of urinary function and eventual urea poisoning. See urinary system.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.