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Embrylogical development of kidneys occurs in the pelvis with the ureter arising anteriorly. In ectopic kidneys the ureter is retained in its anterior position.
The ectopic kidney is generally sited in the pelvis although it may be found anywhere in the abdomen. In some instances an ectopic kidney may be fused to a normal kidney.
The ureter of the ectopic kidney may open into the bladder. However it may also open into other structures e.g. vagina, urethra.
The initial function of the ectopic kidney is often normal. However patients with ectopic kidneys are often prone to reflux, obstruction and the development of urinary tract infections.