A 55-year-old male smoker presents to the surgical ward for a left nephrectomy. The patient had recent complaints of gross hematuria and was then diagnosed with renal clear cell carcinoma. During his surgery, the surgeon notes the anatomy of the renal blood vessels and their neighboring structures. Which of the following statements is most accurate regarding the renal blood vessels and their surrounding structures?
- The renal veins lie posterior to the renal arteries
- The right renal vein drains directly into the inferior vena cava, while the left renal vein drains into the inferior mesenteric vein
- The renal arteries lie at the same level of the vertebral body as the inferior mesenteric artery
- The right gonadal vein drains into the right renal vein
5) The left renal vein is longer than the right renal vein
The left renal vein is usually longer than the right renal vein because the inferior vena cava is located slightly to the right side of the body closer to the right renal vein. This anatomical distinction is especially significant in renal transplantation, where donor kidneys are generally retrieved from the left side due to the surgical advantage provided by the long left renal vein.