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Porta hepatis

Recommended video: Inferior view of the liver [15:59]
Structures seen on the inferior view of the isolated liver.

The porta hepatis, sometimes referred to as the hilum of liver or the 'gateway' to the liver, is a transverse fissure located on the inferior surface of the liver. It serves as an entry or exit point for various structures that supply and drain the liver. Positioned between the quadrate and caudate lobes, the porta hepatis is a region devoid of visceral peritoneum.

The porta hepatis contains the hepatic portal vein and hepatic artery, both of which enter the liver parenchyma to provide a dual blood supply, alongside the hepatic nerve plexus. Additionally, the porta hepatis acts as the exit point for the hepatic ducts that merge to form the common hepatic (bile) duct, as well as for the lymphatics of the liver.

The bile duct, hepatic artery, and hepatic portal vein together constitute the portal triad. This triad runs between the layers of the hepatoduodenal ligament to enter the liver at the porta hepatis. As it continues into the liver parenchyma, the triad branches and interdigitates, forming a complex network that facilitates the efficient transport of blood, nutrients, and bile throughout the liver.

Terminology English: Porta hepatis
Synonym: Transverse fissure of liver, hilum of liver

Latin: Porta hepatis
Synonym: Hilum hepatis
Definition Transverse fissure on the inferior surface of the liver where major vessels and ducts enter and exit

Learn more about the porta hepatis of the liver in the following study unit:

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