The liver is a large accessory organ of the gastrointestinal tract located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. This multifunctional organ is covered in a fibrous capsule on most of its surface, except on an area known as the bare area that is in direct contact with the inferior surface of diaphragm. The fibrous capsule that covers most of the surface of the liver is known as visceral peritoneum and its extensions pass into the liver, transmitting the vessels and nerves of the liver.
Reflections of the visceral peritoneum into the parietal peritoneum on the inferior surface of the diaphragm are backed by connective tissue and form a ligamentous band known as the coronary ligament. The liver also has four other ligaments that are directly related to it, namely; the left triangular ligament, the round ligament of the liver also known as ligamentum teres hepatis, the falciform ligament and the ligamentum venosum, an embryonic remnant of ductus venosus.
An intraperitoneal fissure known as the porta hepatis is the point of entrance and exit of several vessels of the liver, including the portal triad, the lymphatic vessels of the liver and the hepatic nervous plexus. The liver can be divided into four anatomical lobes; the right lobe, the left lobe, the caudate lobe and the quadrate lobe. These four lobes can be further divided into smaller segments according to blood supply.
The liver carries out several function including protein synthesis, detoxification, nutrient storage and biochemical production among others. In addition, it is also the largest gland in the body.
Among the most common disorders of the liver are cirrhosis of the liver, hepatic failure, cholestasis and portal hypertension.
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