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The liver

The liver is a vital organ located in the upper right part of the abdomen, beneath the diaphragm. It is the largest internal organ in the human body and performs numerous functions essential for metabolism, detoxification, digestion, and regulation of various bodily processes. Here's a breakdown of the anatomy of the liver:

1. Liver Lobes:

- The liver consists of two main lobes: the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is larger and occupies most of the space in the upper right abdomen, while the left lobe is smaller and extends into the upper left abdomen. These lobes are further divided into smaller segments.

2. Liver Capsule:

- The liver is covered by a thin connective tissue layer called the liver capsule, which helps protect and support the liver's structure.

3. Liver Parenchyma:

- The liver is composed of specialized cells called hepatocytes, which make up the liver parenchyma. Hepatocytes perform the majority of the liver's functions, including metabolism, storage, and detoxification.

4. Liver Vasculature:

- Hepatic Artery: The liver receives oxygenated blood from the hepatic artery, which branches off from the celiac artery. This arterial blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to the liver tissue.

- Hepatic Portal Vein: The majority of the blood supply to the liver comes from the hepatic portal vein, which carries nutrient-rich blood from the digestive organs (such as the stomach and intestines) to the liver for processing.

- Hepatic Veins: After processing nutrients and filtering toxins, blood leaves the liver through the hepatic veins, which ultimately drain into the inferior vena cava and return deoxygenated blood to the heart.

5. Biliary System:

- The liver produces bile, a digestive fluid that helps emulsify fats and facilitate their absorption in the small intestine. Bile is transported through a network of bile ducts within the liver known as intrahepatic bile ducts.

- Bile exits the liver through the common hepatic duct, which merges with the cystic duct from the gallbladder to form the common bile duct. The common bile duct then delivers bile to the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).

6. Liver Functions:

- Metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

- Storage of glycogen, vitamins, and minerals.

- Detoxification of harmful substances, including drugs and alcohol.

- Synthesis of proteins, including albumin and clotting factors.

- Production and secretion of bile.

The liver plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and homeostasis within the body, and its complex anatomy reflects its multifunctional capabilities.

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