Although their functions may appear simple, the ureters perform essential excretory work for the body. These two slender tubes transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The ureters use a process called peristalsis, the contracting, rhythmic movement of smooth muscles, to push the urine into the bladder. The organs prevent urine from backing up or standing still, which protects the body from developing kidney and bacterial infections.
The peritoneum is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. Like the kidneys, the ureters are retroperitoneal organs, meaning they sit behind this membrane. Each tube is between eight and 12 inches long. The left ureter is slightly longer than the right because the left kidney is located a bit higher than its counterpart. The ureters’ thick walls consist of four layers: the innermost layer--the mucosa, the lining of the mucosa--the submucosa, the smooth muscles that allow ureter movement--the muscularis, and the outmost layer, comprised of loose, connective tissue-- the adventitia.
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