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Cantlie line

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 16 Nov 2020

Cantlie line is a vertical plane that divides the liver into left and right lobes creating the principal plane used for hepatectomy. It extends from the inferior vena cava posteriorly to the middle of the gallbladder fossa anteriorly.

It contains the middle hepatic vein, which divides the liver into left and right lobes according to Couinaud's functional segmentation of liver.

Segments 2, 3, 4a, and 4b are to the left of the plane and segments 5, 6, 7 and 8 lie to the right.

History and etymology

Sir James Cantlie (1851–1926) was a Scottish surgeon who published his observations about an anatomical midline for the liver in 1897 which for the first time recognized that the liver could be bisected into functionally left and right halves 2.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: Cantlie's line (diagram)
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  • Figure 2: Cantlie line
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