Gross and Cellular Anatomy of the Liver

Part of the Molecular Pathology Library book series (MPLB, volume 5)


The liver is the largest organ in the body and has an extraordinary spectrum of functions. Weighing approximately 1,500 g, it sits in the right upper abdominal cavity beneath the diaphragm, and is protected by the rib cage. It is reddish-brown in color and is surrounded by a thin connective tissue capsule known as Glisson’s capsule. Traditionally, the liver is grossly separated into the right and left lobes by the external landmark of the falciform ligament, a ligament that runs along the umbilical fissure and anchors the liver to the anterior abdominal wall (Fig. 1.1). However, a more accurate description of lobar anatomy of the liver is based on its blood supply. The right and left lobes of the liver can be divided by a plane from the gallbladder fossa to the inferior vena cava, known as Cantlie’s line [1]. The right lobe typically accounts for 60–70% of the liver mass, with the left lobe (and caudate lobe) making up the remainder. The caudate lobe lies to the left and anterior of the inferior vena cava. The right lobe can be further divided into anterior and posterior segments, while the left lobe can be divided by the falciform ligament into a medial segment (quadrate lobe), and a lateral segment.


Portal Vein Hepatic Artery Inferior Vena Cava Hepatic Vein Hepatic Duct 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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