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Surfaces of the liver

Learning objectives

After going through this study unit, you will be able to:

  1. Orientate the liver and differentiate between diaphragmatic and visceral surfaces.
  2. Identify the landmarks on each of the liver’s surfaces and learn how to recognize the lobes of the liver.

Watch videos

The liver is a multifunctional organ found in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Based on its anatomical relations with surrounding structures, two main surfaces can be recognised which are separated by the narrow inferior border of the liver:

  • The diaphragmatic surface, lying just below the diaphragm
  • The visceral surface, which faces the abdominal organs

These surfaces feature many important anatomical landmarks, impressions and ligaments which are frequently tested in your exams. They help to orientate the liver, divide it into lobes as well as to localize the trajectories of certain vessels.

The following video tutorials will help you learn everything about the surfaces of the liver and all the landmarks that they exhibit.

Take a quiz

With so much information received, it is important to jog your memory to make it stick! Take our quiz to solidify what you have just learned.

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Browse atlas

Point out everything you've learned about the liver surfaces so far by browsing the main structures through our galleries


Key points about the surfaces of the liver
Lobes of the liver Right lobe: largest lobe of the liver
Left lobe:
separated anteriorly from right lobe by falciform ligament
Quadrate lobe:
visceral surface, between gallbladder and left lobe
Caudate lobe:
visceral surface, between inferior vena cava and left lobe
Diaphragmatic surface Surfaces: Superior, anterior, right, posterior
Cardiac impression, bare area, groove for inferior vena cava, hepatic veins
Visceral surface Also known as inferior surface;
Porta hepatis, fossa for gallbladder, omental tuberosity,
main portal fissure, right portal fissure, left portal fissure, umbilical fissure (fissure for ligamentum teres, fissure for ligamentum venosum)
esophageal, gastric, duodenal, colic, renal, suprarenal
Ligaments of liver Coronary (anterior and posterior parts), left triangular, right triangular, falciform, round, ligamentum venosum, hepatogastric, hepatoduodenal

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