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Anatomy Of The Liver

Discover the intricate workings and vital functions of the liver, unraveling its secrets and understanding its significance in promoting overall health and well-being.

Anatomy of the Liver


The liver is an essential organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen. It plays a crucial role in various metabolic processes, detoxification, and bile production. Understanding the anatomy of the liver is vital for medical professionals, particularly for those preparing for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This guide will provide an overview of the liver's anatomy, including its lobes, blood supply, and structural components.

Lobes of the Liver

The liver consists of two main lobes: the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is significantly larger than the left lobe and is further divided into two smaller lobes known as the anterior and posterior lobes. The left lobe is smaller and is divided into the medial and lateral segments. The division between the right and left lobes is known as the falciform ligament.

Blood Supply

The liver receives blood from two major sources: the hepatic artery and the portal vein.

  • Hepatic Artery: Oxygenated blood is supplied to the liver via the hepatic artery, which branches off from the celiac trunk. This artery provides approximately 25% of the liver's blood supply.
  • Portal Vein: The portal vein carries nutrient-rich blood from the gastrointestinal tract, spleen, and pancreas to the liver for detoxification and metabolic processes. It constitutes about 75% of the liver's blood supply.

These two blood sources merge within the liver, forming a complex network of blood vessels known as the hepatic sinusoids.

Structural Components

The liver is composed of various structural components that facilitate its functions:

  1. Hepatocytes: These are the primary functional cells of the liver. Hepatocytes perform multiple metabolic functions, including protein synthesis, detoxification, and bile production.
  2. Bile Ducts: Bile ducts are responsible for transporting bile, a substance produced by hepatocytes, out of the liver and into the gallbladder for storage.
  3. Sinusoids: Sinusoids are specialized blood vessels that allow the exchange of nutrients, waste products, and other substances between the blood and hepatocytes.
  4. Gallbladder: Although not a direct part of the liver, the gallbladder is closely associated with liver function. It stores and concentrates bile produced by the liver, releasing it into the small intestine during digestion.


Understanding the anatomy of the liver is essential for medical professionals, particularly those preparing for the USMLE. This article provided an overview of the liver's lobes, blood supply, and structural components. Remember to review and familiarize yourself with the liver's anatomical features to successfully tackle usmle questions related to this vital organ.

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