Anatomical Variations of Hepatic Veins: Three-Dimensional Computed Tomography Scans of 200 Subjects

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The impact of hepatic venous anatomic variations on hepatic resection and transplantation is the least understood aspect of liver surgery.


A prospective three-dimensional computed tomography study was undertaken on 200 consecutive subjects with normal livers to determine the prevalence of surgically significant hepatic venous anatomic variations.


The prevailing pattern of the three hepatic veins in these subjects was a right hepatic vein (RHV) and a common trunk for the middle (MHV) and left (LHV) hepatic veins (122/200, 61%). The remaining patients had the RHV, MHV, and LHV draining independently into the inferior vena cava (IVC). In 39% of patients, the RHV was small and was compensated by a large right inferior hepatic vein (21.0%), an accessory RHV (8.5%) or a well-developed MHV (6.5%). A segment 4 vein was seen in 51.5% of patients. This segment 4 vein joined the LHV (26%), the MHV (17.5%), or the IVC (8%). An umbilical vein and a segment 4 vein were seen in 3.5% of patients. These two veins joined either the LHV (2.0%) or the MHV (1.5%).


Knowing the variations of hepatic veins before surgery is useful during both partial hepatectomy and donor operations for living related liver transplantation.

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This work was supported by the following grants: The National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program) (grant 2006AA02Z346); The Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (grant 6200171); National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant 30470493); The Integration Project of Industry, Education and Research jointly funded by Guangdong Province and the Ministry of Education of P.R. China (grant 2009B080701077); The Strategic Cooperation Project jointly funded by Guangdong Province and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant 2010A090100032).

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Correspondence to Chi-Hua Fang or Wan Yee Lau.

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Fang, C., You, J., Lau, W.Y. et al. Anatomical Variations of Hepatic Veins: Three-Dimensional Computed Tomography Scans of 200 Subjects. World J Surg 36, 120–124 (2012) doi:10.1007/s00268-011-1297-y

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  • Inferior Vena Cava
  • Hepatic Vein
  • Obstructive Jaundice
  • Liver Surgery
  • Common Trunk