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Weighing in at around 3 pounds, the liver is the body’s second largest organ; only the skin is larger and heavier. The liver performs many essential functions related to digestion, metabolism, immunity, and the storage of nutrients within the body. These functions make the liver a vital organ without which the tissues of the body would quickly die from lack of energy and nutrients. Fortunately, the liver has an incredible capacity for regeneration of dead or damaged tissues; it is capable
The liver is a roughly triangular organ that extends across the entire abdominal cavity just inferior to the diaphragm. Most of the liver’s mass is located on the right side of the body where it descends inferiorly toward the right kidney. The liver is made of very soft, pinkish-brown tissues encapsulated by a connective tissue capsule. This capsule is further covered and reinforced by the peritoneum of the abdominal cavity, which protects the liver and holds it in place within the abdomen.
The peritoneum connects the liver in 4 locations: the coronary ligament, the left and right triangular ligaments, and the falciform ligament. These connections are not true ligaments in the anatomical sense; rather, they are condensed regions of peritoneal membrane that support the liver.
The wide coronary ligament connects the central superior portion of the liver to the diaphragm.
Located on the lateral borders of the left and right lobes, respectively, the left and right triangular ligaments connect the superior ends of the liver to the diaphragm.
The falciform ligament runs inferiorly from the diaphragm across the anterior edge of the liver to its inferior border. At the inferior end of the liver, the falciform ligament forms the round ligament (ligamentum teres) of the liver and connects the liver to the umbilicus. The round ligament is a remnant of the umbilical vein that carries blood into the body during fetal development.
The liver consists of 4 distinct lobes — the left, right, caudate, and quadrate lobes.
The left and right lobes are the largest lobes and are separated by the falciform ligament. The right lobe is about 5 to 6 times larger than the tapered left lobe.
The small caudate lobe extends from the posterior side of the right lobe and wraps around the inferior vena cava.
The small quadrate lobe is inferior to the caudate lobe and extends from the posterior side of the right lobe and wraps around the gallbladder.