Location of the Liver

The liver is located in the upper right-hand portion of the abdominal cavity, beneath the diaphragm and on top of the stomach, right kidney, and intestines. The liver is a dark, reddish-brown triangle-shaped organ that weighs about 3 pounds and is found in the right upper abdomen, below the diaphragm.

Credit: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Credit: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

It takes up most of the space under the ribs and some space in the left upper abdomen, too. Viewed from the outside, a larger right lobe and smaller left lobe can be distinguished. The two lobes are separated by a band of connective tissue that anchors the liver to the abdominal cavity. The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes a product called bile, which helps carry away waste product from the liver.  The gallbladder, where bile is stored, is found in a small hollow on the underside of the liver.

All of the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver.  The liver processes this blood and breaks down, balances, and creates the nutrients. It also breaks down drugs into forms that are easier to use for the rest of the body. More than 500 vital functions have been identified with the liver.

There are two distinct sources that supply blood to the liver:

  • Oxygenated blood flows into the liver through the hepatic artery.
  • Nutrient-rich blood flows into the liver from the intestines through the hepatic portal vein.
Anterior view of liver and stomach showing biliary tree and gall bladder Original Exit Writer image is 115786 Biliary Colic (presmd). Added vasculature removed stomach

Anterior view of liver and stomach showing biliary tree and gall bladder Credit: stanfordchildrens.org

The liver holds about one pint (13 percent) of the body’s blood supply at any given moment. the liver consists of two main lobes, both of which are made up of eight segments that consist of a thousand lobules. These lobules are connected to small ducts that connect with larger ducts from the common hepatic duct. The common hepatic duct transports the bile produced by the liver cells to the gallbladder and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) via the common bile duct.